We owe thanks to a special young lady for the existence of a food pantry in Rankin County. Kristin McClendon is a special needs adult who found her life's calling volunteering with the Red Cross along with her mom after Hurricane Katrina.
That led directly to the creation of a food pantry that is doing a lot of good these days.
The South Rankin Food Resource Center opened in a closet in First United Methodist Church in Richland. From there it has grown to, and out grown, a house next door to the church. They are searching for even larger quarters now.
But it all started when Kristin McClendon, helped distribute food after Katrina. She told her mom she had discovered what she wanted to do with her life, help find food for people who needed it.
Kristin's mom, Mayoung, set out to make that happen.
Kristin had just gotten out of St. Richard's Special Kids, had just left there, said Mayoung. "I had been praying for me to find something for her to do. And she absolutely fell in love with feeding people."
A request to their church to open the pantry was approved and the closet was stocked and regularly emptied and restocked. Slowly at first, but with the recession that hit in 2008 and the slow recovery, the food resource center has constantly grown. It was the right that needed doing thing at the right time.
We have people coming through our doors that we never thought that we would see," said Mayoung. "On the average we're doing probably a hundred and thirty one families a week. We're serving around 2000 individuals. We break those families down into individuals, about 2000 a month."
A small army of volunteers helps out at the South Rankin Food Resource Center. Some are there all the time, some when needed. On this day, high-school-ers from the Mayor's Youth Council are lending a hand.
So many people are receiving help with something as basic as getting food because Kristin McClendon liked that kind of thing and from that came the food resource center. For which the Exchange Club of Richland gave her their Golden Deeds Award.
"So but, yea, I do believe that if it wasn't for Kristin, I would not have started one," said Mayoung.
So therefore it may well have never been started. And so many people needing food would not have had such a difference made in their lives.
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