By Talbert Toole
The food drive is an opportunity to collect canned and dry foods for The Pantry during the summer months, which can be the most demanding, said Melanie Thompson, marketing manager of FNB Oxford.
“Lots of businesses slow down over the summer and cut back on employee hours,” she said. “Also, the university and schools often do not pay hourly employees over the summer months.”
During the summer months children are often at home for their daily meals—breakfast, lunch and dinner—unlike during the school year, Thompson said. In addition to many Oxford residents who are dependent on The Pantry, so are many school children.
John Kohne, director of The Pantry, said the organization provides monthly supplemental food for more than 300 seniors, 275 children (newborn to 18) and 600 adults (18-65).
“The lack of affordable housing and high rental costs has most families prioritizing monthly paychecks on rent and transportation rather than food,” he said.
Kohne added that besides Lovepacks—an organization that supplies school children of Oxford and Lafayette County with food during the school year—The Panty is the primary source of food for many local children.
For those wishing to donate, all four of the FNB branches in Oxford are accepting items. Donations can also be dropped off at The Pantry, located at 713 Molly Barr next to the Oxford Police Station.
The Pantry is currently requesting these donations:
-canned meats (tuna, chicken, beef stew, spam, etc.)
-macaroni and cheese
-low sugar canned fruit
-long grain rice
-chicken noodle soup
-low sodium sweet peas
-low sodium green beans
-low sodium cream corn
-low sodium kernel corn
“Oxford is such a special community, but believe it or not there is need here just like every other place in the world,” Thompson said. “To provide a place where someone can come once during tough times or come regularly due to illness or disability creates a better quality of life for that individual as well as everyone involved.”