Church Feeds Hundreds For Thanksgiving

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

(Memphis) Many stood in line as early as midnight to get food from Bellevue Baptist Church’s outreach center on North Watkins. The food giveaway didn’t start until nine. Every Saturday, Bellevue Baptist Church gives away food, but this week more families turned to the church.

With the holiday just around the corner, bags stuffed with food are going to families in need. Folks like Joyce Wynn.

“I have nothing to eat at my house, so I had to get me something for Thanksgiving,” said Wynn. Wynn is on disability and this year just couldn’t afford to buy groceries.

“I have my rent and my light bill. Whatever I have left, I eat on that,” said Wynn.

She’s one of thousands the church is expected to help this November. It’s usually one of the busiest months of the year for them. But in this tough economic year, the already busy month is even busier.
“A lot of the labor jobs are gone.  Yesterday Hostess closed we’re probably going to see the effects of that.  If International Paper leaves, there is going to be another great effect,” said Reverend Jerry Benya.

Benya says the church and about 300 other agencies around the city have been serving more families in the middle of a food bank shortage. To add to the growing need, pantries could soon deal with the impact of Hurricane Sandy, even though the storm happened hundreds of miles away.

“Key items like, tuna and macaroni and cheese are not available because they are sent to other parts of the country,” said Benya.

Benya says when national disasters happen, pantries may only get a fourth of the food they order. He’s hoping Memphians will donate to the food bank to help feed the hungry.

“The first person in line was here at midnight,” said Benya.

Wynn wasn’t here quite that early, but she knows what its like to go hungry. She’s thankful this month, she won’t have to.

“I can eat. I’m real happy,” said Wynn.

For more information on donating to the Mid-South Food Bank, click here.