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April 17, 2024

March of the Mayors

Delta communities working together for food drive

By Lyndsi Naron, The Bolivar Bullet

Extra Table is a statewide food bank founded in 2009 by Robert St. John, a well-known restaurateur. The nonprofit holds fundraisers to stock 62 food pantries across the state. Their soup kitchen partners with entities to provide wholesome, nutritious food each month for free. 

Extra Table’s March of the Mayors is a statewide canned food drive, driven by the mayors of cities across Mississippi. The state is first broken down into five regions and then into cities. Each city will collect a particular food item during the month of February. 

Verizon is the Delta’s regional sponsor. The participating cities and food items are as follows: Clarksdale (Canned tuna), Cleveland (Peanut butter), Drew (Canned green beans), Greenville (Canned Corn), Greenwood (Canned fruit), Indianola (Spaghetti noodles). 

Donations started on February 1 and will continue until March 1.

Citizens can drop off their peanut butter donations to Cleveland City Hall (100 North St), Cleveland Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce (101 S Bayou Ave), Robinson Carpenter Memorial Library (104 S Leflore Ave), Planters Bank (Hwy 61 North & 130 North St), and the Railroad Museum (115 S Bayou Ave).

On March 4, Extra Table will host “Mississippi’s Largest Food-Box Packing Party” at the Cleveland Fire Station (209 South Street) to put together all the donations. 

“We are so excited to launch the March of the Mayors in two new regions this year – the Mississippi Delta and Northeast Mississippi,” said Extra Table Executive Director Martha Allen. “We are honored that 40 mayors across the state are onboard to feed their neighbors. Mississippi is one of the hungriest states in the nation with more than 670,000 food insecure citizens. At Extra Table, we know the amazing impact this month-long food drive will have on so many Mississippians.”

Participating cities will receive a percentage of the donations to help fight food insecurity within our community. 

According to Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell, he was approached at a Mississippi Municipal League meeting about the opportunity to help Extra Table. 

“They came to us,” said Nowell. “We said we would love to do it. We can tell you right off we would love to be a part of it. And all of our Delta mayors have worked so good together through the years that we’re all very excited and we know it’s going to be a great success.” 

“We just want everybody to come out and show Cleveland as the leading town in the Delta,” said Nowell. “We’re going to have so much peanut butter they’re not going to know what to do with it.”