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Ole Miss, Community Groups Rally to Feed Hungry this Thanksgiving

Story contributed by broadcast journalism students Madison Aman and Kory Calhoun

Approximately 15 million U.S. households suffer from food insecurity, which means they either don’t have enough to eat or don’t have enough nutritious food, according to the USDA Economic Research Service. Mississippi ranks the third highest for food insecurity at 17.2 percent of households affected. It trails Alabama and Louisiana.

Prevalence of food insecurity. Courtesy of USDA.


At The Pantry of Oxford and Lafayette County, volunteers do what they can to ease some of those hunger pangs, but said they can’t fill all the needy stomachs fully.

“It’s a supplement, it’s not all their food,” said co-manager Carol Wedge. “We have a certain list that’s got how many people in the family get this much.”

Many of their clients are elderly. Nearly five million senior citizens suffer from food insecurity nationally and the numbers continue to grow, according to FeedingAmerica.com.

“Some of them, all they have is Social Security,” Wedge said. “Sometimes it’s whether they get their medicine and eat. Prescriptions are so high now, you got to do one or the other.”

By some estimates, more than a third of college students suffer from food insecure, and Ole Miss Food Bank Director Shane Ferrero said he knows why.

“The cost of living is already so high when you’re a college student,” Ferrero said. “You often don’t have an opportunity to try to secure these resources to secure income when you’re focused on your grades.”

The campus food bank can offer fresh food at times, too, thanks in part to the UM Garden Club.

“We just grow veggies like kale, carrots, radishes, etc,” said club president Annie Siebenaler. “Everything we grow we donate to the UM Food Bank on campus.”

And right now, food donations are more welcome on campus and off.

“The biggest thing also is that financial aid tends to run out as the semester comes to a close,” Ferrero said. “So you see people who are maybe running out of money but didn’t expect it to happen.”

If you are looking to volunteer or receive help from any one of these organizations, you are asked to contact them: 

The Pantry

Ole Miss Food Bank

UM Garden Club

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