Memphis groups take aim at fighting hunger

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated.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, Tenn. -- At the St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church parking lot in Whitehaven, Essa Gatewood, 70, pulled up in her minivan to a special drive-through.

No, she and hundreds of others in their cars weren't there for fast food but rather a food giveaway they said was heaven-sent.

"It's a blessing to me personally because I feed 10 people a month, and I'm on a fixed income and disabled," Gatewood said.

Volunteers with Catholic Charities of West Tennessee, along with Mid-South Food Bank and International Paper, joined forces for this large-scale food distribution effort.

More than 350 prescreened families were given fresh produce and meats.

"This is one of the most food-insecure of a city our size in the nation. We are right up there," Therese Gustaitis of Catholic Charities said.

For many of the families, the words "affordable" and "fresh" just don't mix.

Valerie Vinson said the free food distribution would make a huge difference for her family.

"It's going to be a big help to us," she said. "We won't have to worry about going hungry."

In an effort to fight hunger, five tons of food were handed out Thursday.

"Most of these folks will be the working poor, and by being able to help with their groceries, it allows them to do other things like purchase school supplies and purchase clothing for their children," Gustaitis said.

It's a food giveaway that wasn't only good for the heart but also for the soul of a city.

"This is a big deal," Gatewood said. "God is good all the time. He is good. He opens up doors and makes ways for you."