March of the Mayors food drive packing party draws hundreds of volunteers

The March of the Mayors food drive packing party sponsors were happy with results despite...
The March of the Mayors food drive packing party sponsors were happy with results despite rising food prices.(wlox)
Published: Apr. 1, 2022 at 8:24 PM EDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - After a month of collections, it was time to party.

The March of the Mayors food drive packing party at the Lyman Community Center drew hundreds of volunteers to help prepare food boxes for pantries in South Mississippi... all this, despite challenges with rising food prices.

And the process was pretty smooth.

“There’s a fabulous assembly line,” said Extra Table executive director Martha Allen. “We’ve opened a little factory here at the Lyman.”

In this case, it’s to help feed those less fortunate.

“You grab a box, you go down get one item from each city,” Allen added. “We’ve got closers and it goes straight to the trucks, straight to the food pantries so those that are hungry on our Coast are fed. ... You know, feeding our hungry neighbors is critically important and Extra Table has a great, smart plan in place of how to do that.”

Extra Table has sponsored the March of the Mayors food drive for two years, challenging 11 mayors on the Coast over the last month to collect specific items to be boxed and sent to 13 food pantries on the Coast.

“We just had a great turnout from everyone in the community,” said Pass Christian Mayor Jimmy Rafferty. “It was an amazing thing. And we’re supporting in Pass Christian, Christian Concern Ministries. And it’s a great organization, run by great people.”

The packing party had about 200 volunteers from cities and corporate sponsors. And for those teens involved, it’s a life lesson.

“It does feel like I’m accomplishing something because it’s something that’s bigger than myself and bigger than all of us that are here,” said Jada Stewart, a member of the Gulfport Mayor’s Youth Council.

Gautier Mayor Casey Vaughan, who is supporting First United Methodist Church of Gautier’s food pantry, said this kind of event that supports the whole Coast just energizes the day.

“They’re all going nuts filling these boxes,” he said. “And with their fellowship with each other and their energy and their smile, I don’t think you’ll find anybody here who is not grateful to be here and help people in need.”

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