- Special Sections
- Public Notices
As temperatures begin to drop, the need for food increases. At the Union County Good Samaritan Center, a plethora of families are helped with food to help get them by during times of financial strife and hardship.
The Union County Baptist Association Food Pantry is housed at the center, which is where a lot of USDA and non-USDA food is housed to be handed out to residents that are in need of food.
The food is received by donations, USDA food is received from Jackson, Miss. from the Mississippi Food Network, and non-USDA food is received from Memphis, Tenn. from the Mid-South Food Bank.
Food items may include, but are not limited to canned vegetables, canned fruit, frozen meat, peanut butter, cereal, macaroni and cheese.
Sally Zemek, executive director of the Union County Good Samaritan Center, said that the number of families that are in need of help has increased every month this year compared to last year and in the year’s past.
In October 2008, 389 families were helped and in October 2010, 471 families were helped with food assistance.
Edith Jackson, a five-year volunteer at the food pantry, said, “If people would give money, it would go father than people donating canned goods and other food.”
For example, when the center orders food from either of the food banks, they can receive a case of cereal, which is twelve boxes, for $1.54. A case of sliced potatoes, which is 24 cans, costs $6 and a case of tuna, which is 48 cans, costs $2.80.
There is no handling fee when the center orders food from Jackson and the food is delivered to Baldwyn and volunteers pick it up from there. There is a small handling fee when ordering food from Memphis, but the truck delivers the food directly to the center.
“Possibly due to the increase of unemployment, we have seen a great number of new families each month this year. We are seeing about 34 new families each month.”
Churches, individuals, schools, and businesses donate to the center. In addition, the center receives grants from UNITE, United way, New Albany Light, Gas, and Water, and from Emergency Food and Shelter.
2011 will be the 25th year for the Union County Good Samaritan Center.
“I enjoy helping people and I get joy out of handing someone groceries that needs food,” said Zemek.
There are two paid employees and approximately 40 volunteers that help pack and hand out food to the clients. Just this week, the volunteers have helped over 100 families.
Jackson said, “I get satisfaction out of knowing that we are helping someone that is truly in need and needs help. It is a good feeling in your heart to help people who need it.”
New Albany resident Sarah Fitzpatrick said, “I receive food from the food pantry and I receive food stamps too. The food from the food pantry acts as a mediator between the time that I receive the food and helps me feed my family throughout the month.”
The Union County Good Samaritan Center is located at 806 Jay Street in New Albany and the phone number is (662) 534-0931. Their hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday 10-11:45 a.m. If anyone is interested in volunteering or contributing, call the above phone number.