At Samaritans food pantry in Horn Lake, Miss., the 25-year old Mid-South Food Bank Partner Agency serves an average of 150 households every month. Executive Director Ed Flynn says the pantry’s operations continue to hinge on strong community support, including assistance from United Way, the Horn Lake, Miss. Chamber of Commerce and an array of churches and individuals.
Sixteen volunteers manage the facility, located near Interstate 55. They order about 1,000 lbs. of food from Mid-South Food Bank monthly. They also receive Mississippi USDA product and pick up donated product from local grocers.
Samaritans helps families who reside in Southaven and Horn Lake in DeSoto County, Miss. Its clients’ demographics are comprised of the underemployed, unemployed and senior citizens. On a recent weekday distribution, client Steven Turner Sr. and his two sons, Josh and Steven Jr., received food to take home.
The food helps a great deal, the elder said. “I’m on disability and it’s hard to get by with $ 1,000 a month with three of us in one home,” he said.
The pantry has, in addition to food, a clothes closet, limited utility assistance, a social case worker and job placement information.
“The volunteers provide help with the goal that we are going to give you a hand up, not a hand down,” he said. “We want to see you find or regain your footing, and we are here to get you started.
“We will even offer a gas card if someone needs it in order to get to a job interview,” he noted.
Flynn said that the volunteers have seen the number of clients slightly decline recently. “We have seen many success stories, and with that, people who’ve moved on reach back to help us because this is where they were helped,” he said.