From its beginnings in 1984, the Mississippi Food Network has growth to touch all 82 counties in the Magnolia State, with 23 employees, many volunteers and a budget of $15 million which goes to helping feed those who are truly needy.
Dr. Charles Beady serves as executive director of the MFN, and is fairly new to the job.
“I’m truly happy and excited to be here, doing good work,” he said.
Born in Georgia and raised in Michigan, where he received degrees from Michigan State University, this is his second go-round in Mississippi, coming from a long and distinguished career in education, for universities and institutions including Morgan State, research at Johns Hopkins, Alcorn and Piney Woods.
He is very proud of the contribution MFN makes to the state.
“Last month, we provided over 2 million pounds of food to more than 150,000 people in need,” he said. “Of course, I want to see us do a lot more. There are more than 600,000 food-needy people in Mississippi.”
He sees America as a “blessed nation,” and believes that we all need to be in the fight to alleviate poverty and hunger.
“If everyone would decide to do just a little bit, things would change,” he said. “Even a dollar or two really helps. Mississippi is a very caring state, and the more we can get Mississippians to understand our mission, the more we can help to reduce the effects of poverty and poor nutrition.”
He thinks that success always begins “in the neighborhood,” with people uniting to make things better for all. “If we can’t get the support at the grass roots, then we won’t see the results we need.”
One program the MFN has in place now is its “backpack program” for kids.