Helping hands: Volunteers spend part of holiday serving Thanksgiving meal at stewpot

Published 11:56 pm Thursday, November 24, 2016


NATCHEZ — Seventeen-year-old Aaron Coleman has been lending a hand in the Stewpot kitchen since he was 10 years old.

The Natchez Early College Academy student has helped out on the Stewpot’s busier days like Christmas and routinely serves plates, loads deliveries and washes dishes.

Email newsletter signup

Thursday, though, was Coleman’s first time to volunteer on Thanksgiving. He accompanied his mother, Elrica Coleman, who began many years ago as a volunteer and is now a full-time employee. Elrica even served at the Stewpot while she was pregnant with him.

“Seeing her for so long here … has had such an impact not just on the people’s she’s helping, but also on me and my siblings, as well, and other people around us,” Coleman said. “It motivates us to help, too.”

Elrica said she is happy, but not surprised, to see her children enjoying helping local residents in need.

“It’s been instilled in them,” she said.

The Colemans joined approximately 15 volunteers who helped serve nearly 400 meals on Thanksgiving to those in need.

Coleman said the generosity of the holiday volunteers is inspiring.

“To see all these people from different parts of Natchez help out for one goal and spend their time helping out other people, it’s just wow,” he said. “It’s really good to see that.”

Maggie Fromm volunteered for the first time at the Stewpot Thursday. Fromm, who works at Magnolia Bluffs Casino, is originally from Pennsylvania and has lived in Natchez for two years.

“I don’t have any family in town, so I though I might as well come down here and help out,” she said. “I am thankful to be able to give back to the community. It feels good to be able to help people.”

Fromm said before stepping foot in the Stewpot on Thanksgiving, she did not realize how many people depend on the non-profit for their meals.

“You don’t really realize there are that many people hungry,” she said.

Thanksgiving Day was Krystalyne Mitchell’s first time volunteering at the Stewpot as well. The 17-year-old Natchez High School student accompanied her cousin JaDarrius Mitchell, 22, to serve meals.

“I thought it would be good to help out,” she said.

JaDarrius volunteered last year at the Stewpot and said he is thankful he is able to help those need.

“I felt blessed enough to do something for someone who can’t do for themselves,” he said.

Stewpot Manager Johnnie Davis said the kitchen’s holiday volunteers are a blessing.

“I am so thankful and so grateful to them,” Davis said. “On regular days, we don’t have this many volunteers, so it really helps me out so much on these busy days.”