Reconnecting with Our Roots

Reconnecting with Our Roots
By: Rev. Jill Buckley
As the history goes, Stewpot Community Services was founded in 1981 by a group of downtown churches who saw a persistent and unmet need in our city and came together to help meet it.  Now, 36 years later, thanks to the deep commitment and strong vision of people of faith all over our city, Stewpot continues to respond to deep need in a host of important ways.

What many do not know, however, is the backstory: In the late 1970s, Bill Cook, Jr., who was then the chair of the Missions Committee at Central Presbyterian Church, discovered a new feeding ministry in Dallas, Texas, called “The Stewpot.” He and his wife, Ann, drove over to check it out…and they were inspired. When they returned, they gathered leaders from downtown churches who were likewise looking for ways to respond compassionately to the need at their doorstep.  They determined what they could reasonably and faithfully do together and stepped out on faith. Thus, the “Community Stewpot,” as it was then known, was born here in Jackson, MS.

During the last week of June, a group of senior staff members and I trekked over to the “original” Stewpot in Dallas, Texas, to reconnect with our roots. The Dallas Stewpot has seen the same kind of exponential growth that we have, and we wanted to find out what challenges they had faced in their evolution and learn from the still-creative ways they have discerned to respond.

Like us, they are still serving lunch, but thanks to a creative partnership with the City, they are also serving breakfast and dinner to approximately 400 individuals at each meal. They operate a day shelter similar to [...]

He Works Through Art

“He works through art”

HeARTWorks is an art ministry which began over ten years ago at Stewpot. Our mission at HeARTWorks is to offer an artistic experience in a Christian environment to the homeless and needy around the Stewpot community. Our artists gather each Tuesday at 9 am at the old Stewpot cafeteria.  They enjoy a short devotional before beginning their art session. Local artists and volunteers donate their time to teach a new technique, lead a craft project, or simply encourage our artist before they enjoy lunch with Stewpot at noon.

Each Fall, HeARTWorks holds an art show that showcases the talent of our artists. The sale of each piece is split 80/20 between the artist and Stewpot respectively.  You will notice all HeARTWorks art has a silver spoon adhered to it.  It is our hope that all purchases and viewers be reminded that we are not all “fed” with a silver spoon. This year’s art show will be held on Thursday, September 28 at The Cedars in Fondren from 5pm – 8pm. Come check out what our artists have on display!


BankPlus Presents Red Beans & Rice for Stewpot ~ A Success

A Huge “Thank You” to all who came out and supported this year’s BankPlus Presents Red Beans and Rice for Stewpot! Without you, the wonderful festival day we had would not have been possible. Stewpot would like to say a special thanks to our 2017 Sponsors, especially BankPlus our title Sponsor! We truly thank you for your leadership in the community and your support of Stewpot. We also appreciate the major contributions of The Clarion Ledger, WLBT/FOX 40, Ergon, Inc, Nix Tann, Brunini Law Firm, Adams & Reese, The Caldwell Foundation, Bradley Arant, Visit Ridgeland, Capital City Beverage, Cspire, The Renaissance, Tire Engineers, The Bottrell Agency, IHeart Media family of Radio Stations, and Taylor Power Systems. Thank you to all of our contestants and volunteers. And to some of the BADDEST bands in the land who performed, “You Rocked” literally.

Information regarding the 2018 BankPlus Presents Red Beans for Stewpot Festival will be posted on the website soon so keep checking by visiting the Red Beans & Rice website at Stewpot Special Events Coordinator, Michelle Bingham, can be reached at 601-353-2759 ext. 18 or by email at

St. Dominic, thanks for being such great partners. We look forward to working with you again next year!

Information regarding registration for the 2018 Magnolia Meltdown run can be obtained at

The People have spoken and the 2017 People’s Choice Winners are:

Bill’s Creole and Steak Depot ~ Grand Champion

The Holy Smokers of Saint Andrews ~ 2nd Place

Stewpot Community Services ~ Most Honorable Mention



BankPlus, with total assets of more than $2.6 billion, has over 57 locations in 33 Mississippi communities. BankPlus is the largest certified Community Development Financial Institution in the United States. BankPlus offices are located in Belzoni, [...]

Thanksgiving for Stewpot in 2013

By Rev. Frank Spencer
The Stewpot Family has so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving season and I want to make sure everyone knows about the blessings that Stewpot has and is enjoying this year.

We do not want to forget the problem that occurred last December when an individual filed a change of address form with the U. S. Post Office. For a little over a week, much of Stewpot’s holiday mail was diverted to the wrong address. Although, it is impossible for Stewpot to know what mail and money was diverted from our ministries, a comparison with the previous year showed a reduction in contributions in excess of $110,000.

After the diversion, Stewpot continued all of its ministries serving over 650 people a day as long as we could until our funds ran out in July. It was a sad time when we announced that we would have to lay off staff and close 2 of our ministries. These two ministries served 125 people a day. HOWEVER, as soon as the announcement was made, supporters came to the rescue. By the end of the first week with the donations and pledges coming in, Stewpot was made whole from the theft and we were able to reopen the 2 closed programs. In fact, with the made up funds and extra support, Stewpot ended up in August 2013 in better financial shape than in the previous year.

Secondly sometime in November or December, Stewpot will open its new kitchen, dining room and men’s and women’s restrooms. What a blessing this is. Everyone who has volunteered at Stewpot at our noon lunch knows the ragged condition of our old facilities. Although we did the best we could, [...]

Stewpot Elects New Officers and Members

At its annual meeting on February 13, 2013, representatives of sponsoring churches, the synagogue and other supporting churches elected 2 new Board members and Stewpot Board officers for 2013.
Elected to three year terms on the Board were Donna Orkin, a member of Beth Israel Synagogue and a Stewpot volunteer in the Food Pantry and Community Kitchen lunch program and Rev. Tommie Brown, the Pastor for Outreach for Word of Life Church on Lakeland Drive, which has supplied space for our Summer Camp in its new Capitol Street facilities and many young church workers who have helped clean around Stewpot Buildings. The Stewpot Board is happy to have these 2 active volunteer workers added to the Board.

The attendees also elect the Board Officers for the coming year. Elected Chair was Charles Parrott, a Stewpot Board member from North Minister Baptist Church and also Vice-Chair Jane Anna Barksdale, a Stewpot Board member from St. James Episcopal Church. Elected Treasurer was Amy Brooks a Board member from St. Peters Catholic Church and Secretary, Barbara Bruninni, a Board Member from St. Richards Catholic Church.

Holmes Adams has served as Stewpot Chair for the past two terms and under the Stewpot by-laws, Holmes continues to serve in a Board position for the next 2 years as Board Chair-Emeritus.

The Stewpot family is grateful to all of these Board Members for their willingness to provide leadership and direction to the ministry of Stewpot for the next several of years.

We’re a Small Family but We’re a Success!

Marilyn (name has been changed) is a 38 year old African -American young woman from Jackson. She is the Mother of 3 children; their ages are 5 months, 2 years, and 5 year of age.  Although, she is a graduate of Belhaven College with a degree in paralegal studies, she has been unable to find a job as a paralegal. She did find a job with a local law firm as a runner. Unfortunately, she became homeless when the law firm for which she was working laid her off when the firm had to cut back on personnel. When her funds ran out she was unable to pay her rent and she was finally evicted from her apartment.
Marilyn was desperate because of her children and she came to Stewpot for help. She and her children were initially placed at Matt’s Emergency Shelter and her children were enrolled in daycare at Karitas, a daycare center which is offered free to Stewpot shelter clients by Catholic Charities. Marilyn stayed at Matt’s House for 8 days and was then transferred to Sims Transitional Shelter. She was transferred to Sims because the Stewpot staff felt that she would need more time finding a job and suitable housing for her children.  Marilyn initially had difficulty adjusting to her loss of a job and life in a shelter but working with Mrs. Carter, Stewpot licensed professional counselor, she became a model client and shortly began participating in the group activities at the Sims House with very good attitude. Marilyn and her children especially enjoyed the field trips arranged for Sims House clients to go to all the church Christmas Parties, to New Stage Theatre productions and to the Natural [...]

My Success is a Struggle but I am Working on It

By Jamie Pipes 
I want to talk about how I became homeless, what assistance helped me to improve my condition, and how I am continuing to work and improve. First, I want to say I am now responsible for providing shelter for myself. However, I know now that everything that lead to me to being homeless was the direct result of my decisions. I made decisions based on self gratification which later placed me in a position to be hurt. I wish I could say that I was a victim, but for me that was not the case. I moved from place to place using anyone who allowed me to use them for money, food, or shelter. I have both a legitimate mental illness, and a long history of addictions. Neither of these means I was forced to make the choices I made. I always had the choice to give up or to fight for better. Looking back, I can see that I expected various homeless programs and random people to save me. However, I had given up on myself. By the time I was accepted to stay at Matt’s House, I just didn’t want to sleep on the streets anymore. I really didn’t expect that staying there would help me want better for myself. I thought I was too good to stay at a shelter. The first time I was offered a bed there, I made an excuse about being afraid to be around drugs. So, I ended up moving in with a lady from August to October that ended up stealing my food stamps, possibly claiming me as a dependent on her taxes, and filing disability for me with her as the [...]

Stewpot by the Numbers

Everyone in Jackson seems to know that Stewpot feeds people. But what many people don’t know is just how many people we feed. Here is a glimpse into how much food is needed for ONE average month at Stewpot.
The Food Pantry serves 583 people a month. This number includes all the members of the family from parents to children. Each family is given a four day supply of groceries to cover the entire household.
The Community Kitchen serves an average of 5,629 meals a month to any member of the community-no questions asked.
Matt’s House Emergency Shelter for Women & Children provides around 3,360 meals a month the homeless women and children residing at the shelter.
Sims House Transitional Shelter for Women & Children provides approximately 1,300 meals to the families residing at the shelter.
The Billy Brumfield House for Men serves the homeless men of Jackson nearly 3,600 meals a month.
The Opportunity Center, provides a place for the homeless and low-income of the area to wash clothes, shower, and meet with local service agencies. The Opportunity Center also provides a morning and after-noon snack and in an average month serves 3,240 snacks.
As you can see, we go through a lot of food each month at Stewpot. There is no way any of this could be possible without the support of you- our community, our family! So, from everyone at Stewpot, Thank You!
Many of you have not only assisted in this mass feeding effort through your donations and monetary support, but also through taking the time to cook food and bring it to the shelter. Thank You, Thank, You, Thank You!
If you are interested in helping any of the [...]