Programs and Services
Like all food banks, Mississippi Food Network relies on lots of people, places, and systems to get food to hungry people around the state. We partner with 415 agencies — including food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, churches, and other charities — to make that happen. Sixty percent of the product is picked up by those agencies at the MFN in Jackson. The other 40 percent is distributed by MFN’s 53-foot refrigerated trailer to centralized locations throughout the state.
This program is designed to meet the needs of hungry children at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations. Backpacks are filled with food and snacks, and then discreetly distributed to children on the last day before a weekend or holiday vacation. The children are then assured of some proper nutrition while away from their meal programs at school. MFN provides backpack meals to 686 children via 14 participating sites in Hinds, Warren, Forrest, Lamar, Madison, Rankin and Oktibbeha counties.
After-School At-Risk Snack Program
Five days a week, MFN provides healthy snacks to about 775 children in after-school programs in underserved communities. A part of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), this is administered by the Mississippi Department of Education Office of Child Nutrition. The snacks are distributed through five Boys & Girls Clubs and nine private nonprofit organizations that also offer tutoring, homework help and enrichment activities.
Summer Food Service Program
The USDA established the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) to ensure that low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is out. MFN’s program served almost 23,000 meals to 585 children in five counties in 2014. The program also includes enrichment activities and nutrition education in an effort to increase participation.
MFN offers nutrition education to children participating in the above programs, and to seniors participating in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). MFN’s Registered Dietician joins with interns from the University of Southern Mississippi Dietetic Intern Program to teach people about healthy food and snack choices and exercise. Nutrition education was also provided to agencies participating in MFN’s Community Garden Project. Topics included recipes and ideas on preparing fresh produce, cooking demonstrations and canning classes.