Season of Wishes: Stewpot hopes to stock shelves, freezers

Published 12:04 am Friday, November 30, 2012

LAUREN WOOD/THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT — Kirk Johnson eats a meal Thursday afternoon at the Natchez Stewpot on East Franklin Street. The non-profit provides meals for several hundred people daily and needs constant donations of food and money.

Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a multi-part series highlighting the needs of area non-profit agencies during the holiday season.


NATCHEZ — For Natchez resident Kirk Johnson, the Stewpot doesn’t just mean a free meal on the run.

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Johnson, who has been eating at the Stewpot every day for a year, said he helps clean and take out the trash after he eats to show his appreciation of the Stewpot.

“That’s the way I was raised,” he said. “You always look for a way to give back.”

Stewpot Director Louis Gunning said the community can give back this holiday season by donating money, nonperishable and even freezer space to the Stewpot.

Gunning said the Stewpot, which feeds the hungry every day of the year, depends on holiday donations to make it through the year.

“We get donations during the holidays that we use throughout the year,” he said. “It’s hard for people to realize that during the middle of the summer, we’re still feeding just as many people as we did during the holidays.”

The Stewpot serves a growing number of people, Gunning said, and is basically at maximum capacity because of limited kitchen space.

The Stewpot, Gunning said, receives meat donations most during the holidays, and he said because of the limited kitchen space, the Stewpot does not have room to store the meat.

“If someone could store some meat in a freezer at their house or business, that would really help me out,” he said.

Money is the best and easiest way people can help the Stewpot, Gunning said. The Stewpot’s costs have steadily risen over the years, he said, and the kitchen depends on monetary donations to keep the doors open.

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

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

Anyone who can store meat for the Stewpot can contact Gunning at 601-442-2270.