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Mississippi Delta residents get reprieve from hunger through pantry

Harvest time in the Mississippi Delta, a rolling emerald expanse of crops. The romantic vision is like a mirage against the glaring light of the nutritional disparity borne by residents here — many for generations.

Holmes County, despite a blanket of 764 square miles of fertile, arable soil, knows this disparity all too well.

Mississippi native W. Ralph Eubanks wrote eloquently in the Oxford American. “I always knew when the Delta was approaching, since it seemed as if everything changed when we reached Yazoo City. The kudzu-covered hills disappeared, and the land flattened out completely and became more expansive. By the time we arrived in Mileston, the horizon appeared so endless that it was as if my father and I had entered another world.”

But as Eubanks’ own family found, reaping what is sown has remained seemingly at arm’s length for many poor and mostly Black residents.

Now a diverse group of Mississippians has joined efforts to battle the era of ravaging malnutrition, creating a drive for better health and sustained hope by providing nutritious food in place of high-calorie, low-protein convenience store offerings that have fueled the obesity and diabetes epidemics. Lexington Food Pantry has found a home on the grounds of historic Saints College on Highway 17 in Lexington.