NETTLETON, Miss. (WTVA) - The coronavirus is hitting the economy hard and more and more people are in need of food donations.
Faith Food Pantry in Nettleton is closing its doors to keep their workers safe during this pandemic.
Executive Director Jim Long said the decision was all about keeping volunteers safe in the midst of a national health crisis.
"Most people that work here are 70 or older," he said. "If we get the virus, it’s a death sentence for us."
Long said running one on the largest food pantries in the area during a national crisis is no small task.
“We do eight to 900 boxes; we give everybody two boxes of food," he said. "So you’re really talking about 16 to 1,800 boxes of food."
Volunteers like Mayor Mem Riley agree the food pantry is a staple in the community.
“I work the parking lot every third Saturday, and I’m telling you, it’s an operation. I’m telling you," Riley said.
Long said they made several operation adjustments, but the mostly-senior staff just couldn’t risk keeping their doors open. The pantry needs about 100 consistent volunteers to keep the operation going.
"You have to look after yourself. How much are you willing to give? Are you willing to give your life to give people food?"
Long said the future of Faith Food Pantry is far from finished, and he plans to reopen as soon as it’s safe for volunteers to come back.
In the meantime, Long said St. Luke's Food Pantry in Tupelo and other food pantries in Amory agreed to take the extra food and distribute it at their locations.