Sheri Duncan, a volunteer at the Pinelake Care Center, near Jackson, Miss., says her food pantry serves many elederly people in the area. Mississippi ranks in the top ten states for food insecurity for people 60 and older.

Geraldine is a grandmother. Like many retired people, she and her husband depend on their Social Security checks to get by each month. This can be challenging on its own, but Geraldine has another full-time job, one that doesn’t pay in dollars: caring for her four grandchildren. Geraldine drives an average car, looks neatly dressed, and is proud to share her life story of running a farm. What you wouldn’t guess is that she depends on local food pantry to keep everyone in her household fed. She may not be whom you picture when you think of someone who is food insecure, but she is not alone. Many elderly people are suffering with a bad economy and increased pressures to care for an extended family. Mississippi ranks in the top ten states for food insecurity for people 60 and older.

As part of the Mississippi Hunger Project Nutrition Fairs held yesterday in Vicksburg and today in Jackson, we are interviewing people to gain perspective and insight into hunger in our communities. Working with the National Urban League and the Mississippi Food Network, we are raising awareness of hunger in a state that, ironically, also has a high obesity rate. We have a *lot* of video stories to share, so please check back for updates. And if you are in the Jackson, Miss., area, come on by the Salvation Army Center on Beasley Rd., and learn about hunger stereotypes first hand.

Food delivered

Our friends in Yuma thanking their community

Today we delivered the first two donations from the Facebook poll we conducted in September, in which we asked people to vote on the food bank they would support to get a truckload of food.  Ten food banks were selected to be in the poll, from among the most food insecure communities in the U.S.  The top three vote-getters will get a truckload of food this month.  (the rest will get one sometime in the next year).   The winners were Yuma Community Foodbank (pictured above), Foodbank of the Albemarle in North Carolina, and the Mississippi Foodbank Network in Jackson. 

The really cool thing about this whole exercise was watching communties get behind their food banks.  Many got local media involved. There were hundreds of Facebook messages and tweets.  Ultimately there were more than 37 thousand votes. We really appreciate everyone who got involved.   We know the food will disappear fast.  But our ultimate goal with all of this is to create more awareness for local food banks, ultimately, getting more people involved in the fight against hunger.