HOULKA – Houlka First Baptist Church, in conjunction with the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, provided USDA boxes of food to those in need on Thursday, March 11.
Approximately 1,400 boxes of food were available and they were put to good use.
Familial ties are what brought the event to Houlka. Carol Smith, whose mother is from Houlka, works as the CFO of the Community Foundation, and she was asked by Bill Blackwelder of the Mississippi Crisis Foundation, which is a non-profit that the Community Foundation is a benefactor of, where she would like to send a food drive to.
She responded in kind by saying that her mother was from Houlka, could they send it there?
Once she received the green light, she reached out to her uncle, Richard Crestman, which set the whole thing in motion.
“Carol contacted her uncle, Richard, and said would the church consider being a distribution site,” said Keith Fulger, Director of the Community Foundation. “So Richard and the pastor [Keith Collins] put this all together.”
Crestman spoke to the process that went in to preparing for the event.
“I talked to [Carol] and then I talked to Keith and then they just informed me what date and time the truck and all would be here, and so we had already said yes, so the pastor and I got with some people and started recruiting help, calling all the area churches to get them involved. Parkway came down this morning and got about 400 boxes to carry down to their church to give out, so, it was just a day to day thing until the day that it happened, and we are just excited and we hope that they'll let us do it again.”
There were several volunteers that showed up to help including members of the church and community, Sheriff James Meyers and Jimmy Kelly, the Mayor of Houlka.
The amount of people coming through kept the volunteers busy too.
“We were impressed with the turnout so far,” said Collins. “We are hoping that many more will come through. We were thankful for this program that will help get these boxes into the community so that the people who may have been affected by the pandemic or the recent ice and snow and couldn't work for a while, or have been laid off, whatever the case, could have food. These boxes have milk, they have apples, potatoes, different things that anybody can uses, and it is just a blessing to this community and a blessing not only to Houlka but to Chickasaw County and we are thankful that we were able to get partnered up with this program and offer these boxes today and hopefully we'll be able to do it again in the future as well.”
Collins said that they are truly grateful to serve the community of Houlka.