United Way NCM 'United We Feed' hopes to fill food pantries


Special to The Dispatch



United Way leaders have launched a major food drive to help restock area food pantries and feed hungry families across a four-county area that includes Oktibbeha, Choctaw, Webster and Winston Counties. 


Sponsored by the United Way of North Central Mississippi (NCM) in partnership with the Kiwanis Club and Starkville Community Church, the United We Feed initiative launched Oct. 1 and continues through Oct. 22. 


United We Feed is aimed at helping to fill food pantries operating in counties served by United Way NCM. Also serving as local partners in the project are Kroger, the Neighborhood Walmart and Vowell's Marketplace. 


During the three-week food drive, volunteers will collect canned vegetables and fruits, uncooked packages of pasta, dry beans, boxed macaroni and cheese, rice, iced tea bags, canned meats (chicken, tuna, ham), canned stews, soups and chili, dry soup mix, coffee, non-perishable food items or packaged dinners and plastic containers of peanut butter, jelly, cereal and children's box drinks. 




Collection locations 


Red collection bins have been placed in Starkville at: Regions Bank, University Drive; The Greater Starkville Development Partnership; Starkville Daily News; Starkville Fire Department Stations 1, 2, 3 and 4; Starkville Police Department; Vowell's Marketplace, Kroger and the Neighborhood Walmart; Starkville Sportsplex; Renasant Bank, Highway 12; Starkville Properties; OCH Regional Medical Center; Bank First, Russell Street; Oktibbeha County Co-op; GLO; and Pollan Promos. 


Collection bins have also been placed in Ackerman, Louisville, Eupora, Mathiston and Walthall. For those locations, contact the United Way NCM at 662-323-3830. 




Distribution, Collection Days 


Bins will be monitored by Starkville Kiwanis Club volunteers and food inventoried and distributed at the Starkville Community Church, which has donated use of their warehouse.  


Distribution in four counties will include 21 food pantries, school programs, humane society, Salvation Army, Casserole Kitchen and Backpack Ministries, said Candy Crecink, United Way NCM executive director. 


In addition to drop-off locations, special Collection Days are set in all four counties from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 6, 13 and 20, according to Angel Baker, United Way local board president and committee member.  


Starkville locations include Vowell's Marketplace, Kroger and Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market. In Louisville, at Vowell's Marketplace. In Mathiston and Eupora, Piggly Wiggly, in Eupora at Super Valu, and in Ackerman at Super Valu. 


"With each year we increase our goal of non-perishable food items to be collected," said Adrienne Morris, committee co-chair. "Last year we surpassed our goal of 12 tons, and this year we are hoping to collect between 15 to 20 tons of food." 


Crecink said, "The last five years, numerous people reached out to help their friends and neighbors with the United We Feed drive, and we encourage others to show their support as we launch this year's project. 


"This year we are so proud to announce Chik Fil A has joined us as another strong neighbor. They are having a Cup for A Cup day. I encourage everyone to go by on Wednesday, Oct. 10 and purchase a bowl of their great chicken noodle soup or their too-tasty tortilla soup because with each cup sold, Chik Fil A will buy a can of soup for United We Feed. A great deal for all our neighbors and what a perfect way to 'cause an effect.'" 


For more information, call United Way NCM at 662-323-3830, or e-mail unwayokt@maxxsouth.net.



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