For Good During Hard Times

Foundation supports COVID-19 response and recovery efforts in Mississippi communities

By: Theresa Erickson, vice president for philanthropy, CFM

Although many Mississippi communities have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also witnessed to the good in people. In Mississippi, we are known for our kindness—demonstrated in a warm smile or friendly wave to a stranger. Or, giving of our time and resources to help a friend, neighbor, or someone we don’t know. That’s what makes our state, our home so unique.

When the pandemic caused people to lose their jobs and families to depend on assistance from food shelters for the first time, organizations like Helping Hands Attala and Brookhaven Outreach Ministries stepped up to fill a need. The Community Foundation supported the organization’s efforts to feed the growing number of people in their community who needed help. This support was only possible because of the generous donations to the Mississippi Community Response and Recovery Fund.

Helping Hands Attala (HHA) is a nonprofit that provides both food and clothing at no cost to families in Attala County that need help. HHA also provides emergency financial assistance for utility bills, prescription medication, and other needs like gasoline for individuals who have to travel a long distance for medical care. On average, the organization served about 320 families before COVID-19. That number is now more than 800 families a month. Through the Mississippi Community Response and Recovery Fund, CFM gave the organization 100 $25 gift cards to give to the families they serve. These gift cards help Attala County community members purchase food and supplies.

Brookhaven Outreach Ministries is a food distribution center, food pantry, and thrift store. While the thrift store is not currently open, the organization is busy serving hundreds of individuals and families in the Brookhaven community. In June, it served 869 people. As a part of the work in June, CFM provided the organization with 100 $25 gift cards. These cards were given to families with the most need to purchase food and supplies. In addition to the gift cards, Brookhaven Ministries provided food such as packaged meat, milk, rice, bread, eggs, and canned foods as well as cleaning supplies.

As I travel through our 22-county service area, I see passionate volunteers and hardworking organizations who are committed to helping their neighbors during hard times. These people are creating hope and truly embody the spirit of hospitality for which our state is known. Together we are making a difference for Mississippi, and we thank you for your partnership.

If you would like more information about how you can help us support organizations like Helping Hands Attala and Brookhaven Outreach Ministries, reach out to me at