By Jessica Hathaway.
Early this year, Mississippi food pantries received deliveries of locally caught, processed and packaged shrimp, harvested by members of Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United.
A $50,000 Catch Together grant facilitated by the nonprofit Extra Table helped Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United purchase 20,000 pounds of local heads-on shrimp. The fishing organization coordinated with processors to have the catch processed and peeled, resulting in 13,000 pounds delivered to families in need across the state in 2-pound frozen bags, comprising 36,000 meals.
“It was a wonderful opportunity, and it was a great feeling,” said Ryan Bradley, executive director of Mississippi Commercial Fisheries United and an NF Highliner. “I got to tag along when Extra Table was distributing those shrimp. It’s not every day they get fresh seafood in these local food banks.”
Mississippi food banks are reporting a 30 to 50 percent increase in need as a result of pandemic-related hardships. The dramatic shift in market demand has affected fishermen, as well.
“With demand from restaurants all but gone, this year has been a challenge for our members,” said Bradley. “This effort not only supports these local fishermen and their families during a difficult time, but also lets them support their fellow Mississippians with fresh, nutritious food.”
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