Homeless enjoying more hot meals, warm clothes during hard freeze

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – Warm clothes, blankets, and other winter necessities are going out this week at Project SafeSpace, a ministry of St. Paul United Methodist Church in Biloxi. That is where the homeless can go to escape the bitter cold and enjoy a hot-cooked meal.

"During the wintertime, the need increases," Program Coordinator Anna Jacobs said. "There are more jackets, more sleeping bags, more people trying to stay out of the weather during the day, especially when it's raining

With freezing temperatures outside, the center opens its doors to about 65 people a day. Kim Clark is thankful for such a place.  She lost her job after being seriously injured in a car accident last year.

"Cold. Scared.  It makes you feel like your survival instincts better kick in quick," said Clark.

In Gulfport, the homeless are getting more than just a hot lunch. Starting this week, Feed My Sheep is also offering breakfast between 8:00 and 9:00 AM.

"We only do it when it's freezing or below freezing. We give them a hot meal to start the day," Feed My Sheep Board Chairman Ted Riemann said. "Our friends are cold. They need some place to get out of the cold and we give them a little sanctity here."

On Monday, about 75 people lined up for a free breakfast of scrambled eggs and sausage, corned beef hash, biscuits and gravy.  Many people who have no place to go appreciate the extra serving of kindness.

"It was wonderful. I would like for that to continue, because a nice warm meal when you're cold does give you nutrition that we need," said Michael Thomas, a homeless man.

"When you're living out on the streets, living in the woods, it's nice to have somewhere to come that has a little heat.  Sit down for an hour.  Not be quite as cold," said Riemann.

Feed My Sheep will continue its breakfast program as long as the freezing temperatures stick around.

According to the Open Door Homeless Coalition, there are more than 1,800 homeless people living along the three coastal counties.

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