Need for free meal deliveries to the homebound facing food insecurity grows in Golden Triangle

EUPORA, Miss. (WCBI) – The Mississippi Department of Human Services sent out a reminder Wednesday about the options available for elderly Mississippians dealing with food scarcity.

The Area Agencies on Aging operate free meal delivery programs in all 82 Mississippi counties.

“(I’ll drive as far as) 90 to 100 miles,” says Kristy Whitaker. “It’s in and out of different roads because you’ll go down one road and if they’re closed that day, you have to go the opposite way.”

Those are some of the lengths that Whitaker goes to as a driver and manager for the Mathiston nutrition site as she delivers free meals to her clients.

“The need for nutrition and other services for older persons is growing every day,” says AAA Golden Triangle director Bobby Gann. “We get calls every day for people wanting meals.”

Gann says that calls for meal deliveries have gone up at least 30 percent since the start of the pandemic.

Drivers in Webster County say they’ll deliver as many as 240 meals in one day, sometimes driving all the way to Houston.

“I go right to the line of Calhoun City to deliver, we go all the way out to Ackerman,” Whitaker says.

To qualify, residents must be 60 or older, be homebound and have someone at the house to receive the food.

“I’ve filled out about three, four or sometimes more applications a week,” says Eupora site manager Glenda Fason.

“The COVID pandemic has affected our meals program,” says Gann. “It’s affected our congregate program quite a lot. People just don’t want to come together at a congregate setting to just sit down and have a meal. And a lot of our homebound clients still don’t want us to come in and deliver meals.”

But Gann says drivers like Whitaker are working hard to make sure that no one goes hungry.

The Golden Triangle’s branch of the Area Agencies on Aging oversees meal delivery and other programs in Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Webster and Winston counties.

To find out how to sign up, call 662-324-7860 or click here. 

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