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Season of Wishes: Stewpot stocking up for hungry months ahead

Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Michelle Mosby, left and Raven Johnson dish up rice and corn for lunch served at the Stewpot.  The Stewpot is open everyday of the week to provide hot meals to the community.
Brittney Lohmiller / The Natchez Democrat — Michelle Mosby, left and Raven Johnson dish up rice and corn for lunch served at the Stewpot. The Stewpot is open everyday of the week to provide hot meals to the community.

NATCHEZ — With an average of 75 cans of vegetables, 65 cans of fruit, 35 pounds of rice and 15 loaves of bread used almost daily to make meals at the Stewpot, costs add up.

Director Louis Gunning said it costs approximately 80 cents a meal for the 250-300 meals the Stewpot prepares for the hungry.

Approximately 175 of those meals are delivered by volunteers to local residents who cannot travel to pick up the meals, Gunning said.

The Stewpot prepared 400 meals on Thanksgiving last week, which was the biggest Thanksgiving the Stewpot has seen, Gunning said.

Thirty-five percent of the Stewpot’s food is donated, Gunning said, and the rest is purchased locally.

In addition to food costs, the Stewpot has two salaried employees, one of which is minimum wage, Gunning said.

With all those costs, the best way to help out the Stewpot during the holidays, Gunning said, is by donating money.

Monetary and food donations decrease in the summer, Gunning said, which means the Stewpot needs to stock up when donations are greater during the holidays.

Anyone wishing to donate money can mail checks made payable to the Natchez Stewpot to P.O. Box 298, Natchez, MS, 39121.

Turkey and other meat donations pick up around the holidays, so Gunning said non-perishable food items are most needed.

Food donations can be taken to the back door of the Stewpot, located at 69 E. Franklin St., from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The Stewpot never closes its doors to anyone, Gunning said,

The Stewpot, Gunning said, has been blessed with generous support from the community.

“My wish this holiday season is that the support we have been getting in the past will continue,” he said. “If it does, we will be all right. We will be able to continue where we are now.”

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