Capleville Community Food Pantry fights food insecurity for 10 years

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Mid-South has one of the highest food insecurity rates in the country with more than 400,000 children, families, and seniors not always having enough food to eat. Erv Walker leads the Capleville Community Pantry in Memphis and says he enjoys helping folks in need but it’s a bitter-sweet service.

Established in 2011, the pantry has grown over the years, Erv says that it’s unfortunate, because that means the food insecurity rate is also growing in his neighborhood. Capleville Community Food Pantry is only open three hours a week but has fed thousands of families over the years.

“We normally serve 20 to 25 families every week. When COVID hit that number doubled. We are now serving about 40 families every time we open,” Erv said.

According to Feeding America research, 81,330 more people in the Mid-South are now facing food insecurity due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Erv says they pack a bag with enough food for a family of four and distribute the packages. Erv told MSFB it’s not all about those in need taking food.

Some who receive food from the pantry repay the kindness by volunteering to help other people struggling to make ends meet. “Without these client volunteers, we would have a difficult time.” Erv says having the opportunity to help has been one of his “greatest blessings.”

Mid-South Food Bank works with more than 300 partner agencies across 31 counties, including 12 in Tennessee, 18 in Mississippi, and 1 in Arkansas. These agencies include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, youth programs, senior programs, and more.