For most families on the Coast, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and spend the day with loved ones while having the pleasure of eating all kinds of delicious holilday foods, particularly lots of turkey and dressing. For others, Thanksgiving is just another day spent wondering if they will be lucky enough to have a hot meal at all. The area homeless population is rising and the number of families that cannot afford a turkey and all the trimmings for Thanksgiving dinner is shocking. It could very well even be people you know… your friends, relatives or neighbors that are struggling. Perhaps hard times are also affecting you and your family.
With the cost of living in today’s hard economic times, there is no shame in visiting a food pantry or other place of assistance when it comes to seeing that your family gets the food they need. Sadly, it is a sign of the times. Churches, community service organizations, soup kitchens and private individuals are trying to help as many people as they can on a daily basis. “It is a daunting task but we love it,” said Loaves and Fishes Director, Betsey Murin. “I want to thank the community for their remarkable generosity especially at the holidays. This community on the Coast knows and understands how life can change in a flash. We serve 6000 people a month and have even been lucky enough to start a program called Martha’s Meals. Food can be picked up to take to anyone in need. Whether it’s a situation where a neighbor can’t leave their home or someone has just gotten out of the hospital and is too ill to feed themselves. It’s as much about seeing a friendly face bring your meal as it is about the food.”
Thanksgiving food is needed at Loaves and Fishes and this year they are accepting whole, uncut, homemade pies as well as uncooked turkeys, nonperishable foods and plastic serving supplies. If your family finds that you can contribute to this year’s efforts to feed those in need, please call Loaves and Fishes or any other charitable organization close to your heart. Volunteers are needed all along the Coast to make Thanksgiving 2011 a blessed event for everyone.
Here is a list of area churches that are planning something special for the Thanksgiving holiday: Temple Baptist 228-832-3209 Cedar Lake United Methodist 228-392-9585 Heritage United Methodist 228-392-4288 Amazing Grace Ministries 228-432-7050 1st United Methodist Gufport 228-354-9136 Beauvoir United Methodist 228-388-1478 Lakeshore Baptist 228-469-0110 1st Presbyterian Pascagoula 228-762-2824 Other coastal service agencies: Loaves and Fishes 228-436-6172 Twelve Baskets 228-868-2823 Crusaders for Christ 228-432-0482 Feed My Sheep 228-864-2701 Gulfport RSVP program 601-897-2020