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Group helps feed local nursing home workers

NATCHEZ — A Natchez pastor is organizing a community effort to feed nursing home workers in order to ease the stress of working with the elderly in a pandemic.

Bill Barksdale, pastor of Jefferson Street United Methodist Church, said the multi-group effort to take meals to the Adams County Nursing Center started Wednesday.

Barksdale said he felt the urge to help the staff of the nursing home after reading and watching the news during the COVID-19 pandemic and hearing Gov. Tate Reeves say Mississippians should support their local nursing homes in a video announcement.

Barksdale said former Adams County Circuit Clerk Eddie Walker, who’s mother was housed at the nursing home, helped him organize a meeting with the Adams County Nursing Center Administrator Jeff Phillips and together they developed a plan to leave food at the door each day at 1 p.m. for someone on staff to take into the cafeteria.

“We wanted to support the staff at Adams County Nursing Center during this difficult time,” Barksdale said. “We don’t know exactly how many cases they’ve had, but they have had some COVID-19 cases in the facility and that is bound to have added some stress and anxiety to their staff.”

Barksdale said he created an online sign up sheet for various groups to bring approximately 50 servings of food on different days with the goal to send enough meals to feed the staff every day through the month of May.

“The staff are able to eat the food there at the nursing center, but sometimes it’s not their preferred meal and going out to get something different like a sandwich isn’t so easy nowadays,” Barksdale said. “… We have a Google sheet and anyone can sign up to help. … We set it up so that anyone who might be bored at home or enjoys cooking can send their donations to the front door and the staff can come pick it up.

We’ve broken it down into about five categories — casserole, sandwiches, fruit, maybe chips and sweets and we ask they prepare at least 50 servings for each category.”

Barksdale said with the help of local volunteers, the group has planned enough food to feed the nursing home staff through the end of the week but still need a lot of help to make it through the rest of the month.

“We’ve got the first week covered and we need a lot of volunteers,” he said.

Anyone who wants to contribute can email Barksdale at billbarksdalejr@gmail.com to be added to the sign up sheet, he said.