Mission Carthage

Mission Carthage volunteers pose for a photo while working at the food pantry. The nonprofit has seen record numbers stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic challenges just as the Hearts of Hope fundraiser was cancelled.

The food pantry at Mission Carthage is helping record numbers in the month of April because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Unfortunately, that same crisis is hurting the organization as it attempts to replenish its stocks without the use of its biggest fundraiser of the year — Heart of Hope — which usually runs the month of April.

So Mission Carthage is asking for your help so they can continue to help others.

“We’re seeing an increasing amount of numbers,” said Executive Director Jennifer Randall. “We’ve set records for April, and we’re just now halfway through the month.

“We’re trying to give people more food. With the kids at home they need it. Kids can eat you out of house and home in no time. We’ve had a lot of new people. We want everybody to come and get food if they need it. We don’t care if you’ve done this before or haven’t done it. We’re just concerned about people getting fed.”

Having increased numbers without increased income is hurting the philanthropic organization.

“Not having our main fundraiser is a hard hit,” Randall said. “Some people have given us money that they normally would have, but we can’t make any plans for another fundraiser until we know what’s going to happen. Hopefully we’ll be able to have our golf tournament in the fall, but there’s no way of knowing.”

While Mission Carthage is ready to take any donation, giving money rather than goods will help more at this time.

“We can buy food from East Texas Food Bank a lot cheaper than they can get it,” Randall said. “We can get stuff for 13 cents a can from ETFB, and there are no limits.”

You can make donations from their website or Facebook pages; by phone at (903) 693-4673; or mail it in at P.O. Box 1208, Carthage, Texas 75633.

Randall said you can still make donations of eggs, produce or meat from a slaughtered pig or cow, but she asks that you call ahead to make sure they have room for it.

The food pantry is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:45 p.m. It is currently operating under the Emergency Food Assistance Program.

“We have COVID-19 procedures in place for the food pantry,” Randall said. “When you arrive here, you can either call us and give us your name and info or, if you don’t have a phone, you can come in and give us your name and info and return to your car and wait.

“We will bring your food out to your car. This practices safe ‘social distancing’ while still helping others. We are able to do this through April 30. “

The food pantry is the main activity going on at Mission Carthage, which also helps people with rent and utilities and has clothes drives. But those companies aren’t turning off utilities or evicting people for non-payment at this time, Randall said.

“We’re just taking what we get and sharing it with the community,” she said.

Mission Carthage is located at 940 E. Sabine on U.S. 79 N.