The Care Station and Mid-South Food Bank teamed up for a one-two punch to feed needy people in Clarksdale Tuesday morning.
The Mid-South Food Bank from Memphis sponsored a mobile food pantry to provide groceries for 400 families in Coahoma County and the Clarksdale Care Station is the local agency that partners with the food bank. The mobile food pantry has come to Clarksdale for close to six months and usually provides 12,000 to 15,000 pounds of food for 300 families, but extra food was provided on Tuesday due to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Groceries distributed at the Coahoma County Expo Center pole barn included meat, fresh bread, potatoes and fresh produce. A family with one to four individuals received enough groceries for one family. Families with five or more members received enough groceries for two families.
“We’ll just run as long as we can until we run out of food, but they’re bringing a transport truck full of food,” said Care Station board president Charlie Estess.
Lawrence Magdovitz, on behalf of his father and mother, paid for 500 meals that also came from the Mid-South Food Bank. The meals went to anyone who showed up Tuesday morning, regardless of where they were from.
The meals included different items such as meats, chicken, assorted entrees, spicy hot rings, dairy products, bread, butternut squash, vegetables, cereal, apples and peanut butter. Joseph Lodge No. 259, a service organization in Clarksdale, helped pass out the meals.
“He (Magdovitz) just called on volunteers,” said Joseph Lodge No. 259 past worshipful master Curtis Glinsey. “Our organization happened to volunteer.”
Everyone went through the same line to receive groceries and/or meals.
Estess said the Clarksdale Fire Department and the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority have helped with the mobile food pantry since the program came to Coahoma County.
“It used to be in another location,” Estess said. “We were at the old Walmart (on State Street).
“This actually turned out to be a better location for us. Even if it’s raining or whatever, we get our food up under that (pole) barn.”
Only Coahoma County residents are eligible to receive groceries from the mobile food pantry. They must be on Social Security, food stamps, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), energy assistance, temporary assistance or Medicare.
“We certify folks,” Estess said. “They answer the questions. They normally would fill out the paperwork.”
Anyone could receive meals Magdovitz paid for.
“They don’t have to fill out any paperwork,” Glinsey said. “They just come through the line and keep going. There’s no documentation or anything.”
And the vehicles packed the Expo Center parking lot.
After COVID-19 caused social distancing, the Care Station is delivering 250 boxes of groceries from the Mid-South Food Bank to local homes and families.
Estess reported another cycle of 250 boxes of groceries projected to last two more weeks were delivered a week ago. A third round of 250 boxes are scheduled to delivered next week.
“This time, we’re going to have to do our own packing, so we’ll be looking for some volunteers to help us organize the boxes for the next giveaway,” Estess said.
Estess said the boxes will be packed toward the end of the week.
Those wishing to volunteer may go to the Clarksdale Care Station Facebook page where Estess’ information is listed or email email@example.com.