Community Pharmacy Meets Growing Need

Their mission is simple: provide free prescription drugs to those who can't afford the medicine.

The St. Vincent de Paul pharmacy began some four years ago. Volunteers and donations keep the ministry up and running.

A team of volunteers helps fill orders in the small pharmacy every Thursday. That's the day needy clients pick up their prescription drugs.

"You do something directly. You don't have to go through a lot of red tape. You meet a need that people you know really need and have in the community. And you're doing this for your friends and your neighbors and the people you know, that are struggling," said director, Theresa Pavlov.

The always full waiting room is ample evidence of the ongoing need.

Patti Dungan is from  Bay St. Louis.

"I'm losing my job at the Grand due to illness. So, this is the only way I can afford to get my medication," she said.

There are different stories of need for everyone there. But all share the appreciation for the helping hand St. Vincent DePaul is able to provide. Prescription drugs become a luxury when it means buying medicine or meals.

"Four hundred dollars a fifty cents a month in pills. Medicine. If it wasn't for this place, I wouldn't have food to eat. It saved my whole life," said Tommy Jackson of Biloxi.

Pharmacist Larry Calvert leads a team of volunteers. The pace is hectic, but the return is well worth it.

"It's very rewarding work. And I've always felt like people are happiest when they're giving. And we're all here to give back something," said Calvert.

Doctors provide prescription samples to help stock the shelves, volunteers do the screening and paperwork and private donations help fund the ministry.

"I thank God for them every time," said Patti Dungan.

That's the kind of response that keeps the volunteers smiling and the community pharmacy busy.

The community pharmacy on Division Street serves about a hundred clients every week. There is an ongoing need for donations and volunteers.

If you'd like to help, you can send donations to this address:

St. Vincent dePaul Community Pharmacy

PO Box 1228 Biloxi, Mississippi 39533

The Community Pharmacy also has a mailing list for a quarterly newsletter.