PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The slow economy is driving more and more people in Jackson County to Our Daily Bread for a free meal. The soup kitchen is feeding more than 7,000 people every month, and that number is steadily growing.
Worker Lucille Palmer said it is challenging to feed 200 walk-ins daily while also delivering 300 meals to homes in Jackson County.
"A lot of people don't have a job and they come in and say they are just hungry," Palmer said.
Chef Mary Meldren agrees that the tough economic times are forcing more South Mississippians to turn to a soup kitchen for free food.
"The economy has went down a lot," Meldren said. "If the economy goes down, more people need to eat."
Our Daily Bread workers said while they are feeding about 40 percent more people, the donations have decreased by 50 percent.
"Our dry good shelves are getting bare, and our fresh produce is getting low. When I don't have what I need to cook with, it is very hard to put together a meal," Meldren said.
The workers said they need more support and financial help from the community in order to continue the kitchen's mission of feeding those in need.
"I'm praying for this with all my heart that we see an allotment of help and means of food," Meldren said
"It's about survival right now," said Dana Bryan, who regularly visits Our Daily Bread. "If it wasn't for this place, a lot of people wouldn't survive."
If you would like to donate to Our Daily Bread in Pascagoula, call (228) 769-7510.