On December 5th, Mississippi Food Network recognized several organizations and individuals for their exceptional contributions to our efforts in ending hunger in Mississippi. These organizations have helped in our mission of changing lives by fighting hunger today and feeding hope for a healthier tomorrow.
Inductees into the Feeding Hope Hall of Fame for 2023 include 16 WAPT and Henry James Legge, JR.
16 WAPT has partnered alongside Mississippi Food Network for the past 12 years on Turkey Drive 16. Throughout those twelve years, 16 WAPT and Mississippi Food Network have raised over 645,000 meals for Mississippians in need. 16 WAPT has also assisted through donation events whenever emergencies arise, such as the Rolling Fork tornado this past March. Mississippi Food Network looks forward to many more years of partnership with 16 WAPT.
The late Henry James Legge, Jr. was posthumously inducted into the Feeding Hope Hall of Fame. Mississippi Food Network partners with retail stores across the state to receive store donations. One of the many partners is Walmart. Many of the Walmart store locations donate directly to their local communities through Mississippi Food Network’s partner network. Mississippi Food Network would like to recognize Mr. Legge for the years of partnership and nearly 1 million pounds of food he made available to his local community. Mr. Legge’s long-time friend, Nate Reece, accepted the award on his behalf.
The winner of the 2023 Spirit of Service Award is Mississippi State University Extension. MSU Extension and Mississippi Food Network have forged a strong relationship since 2018. Due to shared interests and MSU Extension’s AIM for CHangE CDC funded grant, we have been collaborating on enhancing local food pantries by installing infrastructure that allows the food pantries to offer more variety, healthy food options and a CHOICE model that empowers clients to choose preferred foods. Notable achievements include hosting the Food Summit in April of 2023. This Summit featured speakers and activities benefitting over 300 food pantry operators from around the state. MSU Extension has secured additional CDC funding, signaling a promising future for their ongoing partnership with MS Food Network.
The winner of the 2023? The Volunteers of the Year Award goes to Millsaps College. During their new student Welcome Week in August, their incoming class of first-year students participated in a Day of Service. Students spent the day at Mississippi Food Network learning about the importance of the organization to their surrounding community and giving their time and resources to support the individuals benefiting from its amazing work. In addition, the Millsaps football team organized a team service trip to Mississippi Food Network allowing them to give back and bond as a team over the importance of service on and off the field. Millsaps College collectively has generously given up countless hours of their time to support Mississippi Food Network and we are honored to award them Volunteer of the Year.
The winner of the 2023 Hunger’s Hero Award to Mars Food & Nutrition. In 2020, Mars Food & Nutrition announced one of the largest brand changes in its history signaling a more inclusive future and implementing its new brand purpose to create opportunities that offer everyone a seat at the table. Through this rebrand, Mars Food & Nutrition committed to invest $2.5 million dollars in Greenville to create initiatives that help to provide access to healthy food until 2025.
In 2021, Mars Food & Nutrition, Molina Healthcare, and Kroger partnered together to expand the Delta Region’s supply and accessibility of healthy foods through four initiatives. This created the ability to fund the Mississippi Food Network’s Mobile Food Pantry to distribute fresh and frozen produce and proteins to Greenville and surrounding-area residents six times over a 12-month period. This effort has continued to date.
Over the last two years, Mars Food & Nutrition has had the opportunity to provide more than 280,000 meals to approximately 7,000 residents in Greenville and surrounding areas bi-monthly due to its partnership with the Mississippi Food Network. This partnership brings to life Mars Food & Nutrition’s purpose, Better Food Today for a Better World Tomorrow, and their commitment to increase access to healthy food in communities that need it most.
Thank you to everyone who has played their part in ending hunger in the state of Mississippi. It takes all of us to make a lasting impact.