Stewpot update: Organization providing milk, meals and more to community in need

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, January 16, 2019


NATCHEZ — Got milk?

The Natchez Stewpot does, thanks to a current overabundance of milk in the country.

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Natchez Stewpot Director Amanda Jeansonne mentioned the recent offering Tuesday night during the organization’s annual meeting.

Twice a month cases of half-gallon cartons of milk have been delivered to the Stewpot in recent months, Jeansonne said. The milk provided through the U.S. Department of Agriculture is due to a glut in the dairy market. USDA is purchasing excess milk to keep milk prices stable.

When the milk is delivered every two weeks — usually on Tuesdays — a sign is put on the door of the food pantry on East Franklin Street announcing that milk is available. Those in need can pick up milk from 1 to 2 p.m.

Milk will be available as long as it is supplied, Jeansonne said.

Jeansonne told a group of board members, employees and volunteers that by the grace of God the Stewpot continues to provide.

With two full-time employees, a legion of volunteers and a community that continues to give, the Natchez Stewpot served 108,000 meals in 2018  to the hungry and to the elderly, handicapped and shut-ins of the community, she said.

“We want to give God the glory for always sending us faithful volunteers and employees,” Jeannsone said to the small group gathered in food pantry’s dining room.

Donations from churches, community groups and individuals provided for 100 percent of the Stewpot’s $106,000 expenses in 2018.

Expenses included new equipment, maintenance and repairs to the building’s air conditioning, vent hood and large cooler and for a large plumbing project.

“It is what you expect when you have an old building,” Jeansonne said.

Food from canned-drives, meat donations from Hunters for the Hungry and excess food from local restaurants and caterers help add to the food that comes to the Stewpot from the Mississippi Food Network.

“A lot of food comes through the Stewpot each month,” Jeansonne said.

In addition to hot meals, Jeansonne said the stewpot also provides staples and other necessities when donated by the community or through the food network.

Thanks to a sizable donation from an anonymous donor, the Stewpot also provided warm blankets and socks this Christmas, Jeansonne said.

Jeansonne said the donor, who has provided the funds on previous holidays, stipulated that money be used to “Spread the Christmas Spirit” and had to go above and beyond what the Stewpot provides on a regular basis.

The blankets and socks were given out by the Stewpot’s delivery drivers to every person who receives meals.

“The volunteers said it was an absolute joy,” Jeansonne said.

In addition to the regular deliveries, Jeansonne said Christmas Day was one of the busiest days of the year when 370 meals were served.

Without the support of residents, the Stewpot would not be able to continue to provide, Jeansonne said.

“We are very thankful for God’s blessing and for the faithful support of so many,” Jeansonne said.