Stewpot serves for 26th year

Published 1:42 am Friday, November 25, 2011

ROD GUAJARDO | The Natchez Democrat Johnnie Davis shows Joel Bonner how to prepare a plate for the Stewpot. Davis has worked at the Stewpot for 17 years.

NATCHEZ — Miss-Lou residents who visited the Stewpot Thursday had something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

More than 300 boxes filled with turkey, ham, dressing and other treats were handed out or delivered Thursday.

Since about 1985, the Stewpot has been serving hot meals to less fortunate citizens of the Miss-Lou.

Johnnie Davis, manager and cook at Stewpot, has been with the organization for 17 years and said she thanks God every morning for the opportunities she’s been given.

“We’re just trying to help those who can’t help themselves,” Davis said. “This is a day of thanks, so we’re just trying to give some thanks.”

ROD GUAJARDO | The Natchez Democrat Sandra Johnson prepares four plates to go out to hungry citizens at the Stewpot. The Stewpot serves under privileged citizens in the Miss-Lou.

Davis said the Stewpot won’t turn anyone down and the non-profit agency attempts to feed anybody who walks in off the street.

“I feel like I’m giving a helping hand if I can just reach out and help somebody,” Davis said. ‘That’s just the way I feel.”

Louis Gunning, director of the Stewpot, said the organization also delivers food to elderly residents in the area who are unable to cook or be with their families.

“It means the most when you go out on the routes and deliver to these people who don’t have anything and are so appreciative and thankful that we’re there,” Gunning said. “We’re just so thankful for the good people we serve, who gratefully accept our gifts, thanks and blessings.”

Gunning said the whole organization is dependent on Davis and all the volunteers who help daily or just for the holidays.

“We just could not operate without volunteers,” Gunning said.

While some volunteer in the kitchen, others hit the road to deliver meals.

Frank and Dorothy Drouillard retired to Natchez 10 years ago after living and working in Wisconsin.

They consider Natchez their home now and said they just want to give back any way they can.

“When you’re retired you like to give something back and Natchez is just such a wonderful community to give back to,” said Frank.

“We’re happy to see them happy.”