Gulfport Soup Kitchen Feeding Increasing Number of Families, Elderly and UnemployedBy Rhonda Miller | Published 04 Jul 2011 11:45am |
The Gulf Coast is humming with tourists, but hunger doesn’t take a summer vacation. One Gulfport soup kitchen is serving more than 400 meals a day, and as MPB’s Rhonda Miller reports, the number of meals is increasing with the temperature.
At Feed My Sheep soup kitchen in Gulfport, the line is steady for the entire hour a hot lunch is being served. Men, women, children, a couple of people in motorized wheelchairs – each one picks up a tray and gets hot dogs, baked beans, fruit punch.
Toni Adams has been volunteering five days a week since January and she’s seen the increase in hungry people.
"Lot of people, lot of people, families, thousands of people coming in, a lot since the summer," Adams said. "You see a lot of children coming in, since the summer, a lot of families coming in."
Wayne Favre is director of Feed My Sheep. He says the soup kitchen served 10,000 meals in January and it's risen steadily to 12,000 meals in June.
"Lot of people ain’t got jobs, and a lot of people are trying to live off Social Security," Favre said. "You go out there and you see a lot of elderly people on Social Security and they can’t pay for their medicine, so they use Feed My Sheep to get a good hot meal every day."
In addition to senior citizens trying to make ends meet on Social Security, many at the lunch, like 53-year-old Joe Dowdell, say they just can’t find work.
"I’m a construction worker, heavy equipment operator. I have been everywhere, and seems like, I don't understand what it is, the reason I can't get a job," Dowdell said. "I’ve been doing it all my life, my father, my grandfather, I was raised up in construction, carpenter, I have my own tools, I go every day looking for a jobs, work."
The soup kitchen also delivers more than 200 meals a day to the homebound handicapped and elderly. It’s all done with donations of food and money, dished out by cheerful volunteers.
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