Car show helps needy families

By Elise Roberts - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -  A local church is doing its part to help South Mississippi families in need. The Community of Christ Church held a classic car show Saturday in hopes of raising money for the church's outreach program and food pantry.

"When you do fundraising you do what you know. That's what I know, so that's what I planned," said Bill Barsema, a member of Community Christ Church.

Barsema's love for classic cars is now a semi-annual event to help some South Mississippi families.

"People are hurting and people have to know that there is somebody looking out for them," Barsema said.

Barsema is just one of the Community of Christ Church members who helped organize the car show. The event gives people a chance to show off their fancy rides. It also helps families in their struggle to make ends meet.

"We're called to meet the community where it is and we find that this part of Gulfport is in great need of food. That's something that a small church can do," said Co-Pastor Judi Sewell.

Sewell says after Hurricane Katrina, the church served only ten families. The church now serves more than 40.

"With the economy, it's not growing any smaller. The more people that hear about us, the more people that show up," Sewell said.

Jennie Shields was one of the people who had to call on the church for help.

"I was just having a really hard time after the hurricane," said Shields. "We only had help for a short period of time. At that time, I was still working trying to take care of my three girls. My mother was living in my home at the time, and I needed a little extra help."

Shields got the help she needed and thanks to fund-raisers like this one, so are many other families. It's a mission the church says it was called to do.

"We can't do a lot, but we can do some," Barsema said.

The Community of Christ opens its food pantry on the third Thursday of every month. For more information on the pantry or to find out how you can make a donation, call (228) 539-9582.

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