GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Thanksgiving in the Woods starts in the heart. In between the prayers comes a labor of love.
“It’s a God thing,” said Lynda Favre, founder of Shepherd of the Gulf. “You just do what you’re told, and I enjoy it. It’s a blessing.”
Favre knows it’s not all about her.
“It’s the community getting together to help with this,” she said. “That makes it possible. Otherwise, it’d be like my first little Thanksgiving in the Woods. God always supplied, but it was a little bit of a struggle. But now, people are coming out.”
About two dozen volunteers collected supplies and distributed traditional Thanksgiving food to the homeless in Gulfport and Biloxi Saturday.
Gary Rayburn was there to pay back and pay forward.
When Favre had her first Thanksgiving in the Woods eight years ago, he was a homeless camper.
“It’s the Christian thing to do. That’s basically it,” he said. “You know, she helped me. I help her. And, so, it’s the right thing to do. It’s what Jesus told us to do.”
Sheena Carco has volunteered for several years, and she wants her children to experience it as well.
“They get to see how everything is laid out for them and realize that they don’t have everything they have,” she said. “You ask them again, ‘What are you thankful for?’ And it’s more like electricity, I’m thankful for water. I’m thankful we have beds to sleep in and a house to live in.”
First-time volunteers Danette Moore and her daughter Eimhear Davis are dedicated to this kind of work.
“I really believe gratitude is an action word,” Moore said. “It’s not something that we are. It’s something we do.”
“I just feel like I have the means to do this," Davis said. "So, I need to do this for the people that don’t have the means.”
The blessing is not lost on those who are blessed.
“I praise God and our Lord for everything always and for everything he does for everyone,” said camper Rick Ober. “I think Lynda has done a great job. Lynda has done a lot for a lot of people. And everybody she helps I know is very, very blessed.”
This is the first of Favre’s holiday-related efforts. The next will be a Campers Christmas.