Disaster relief center now open for business - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Disaster relief center now open for business

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

By Doug Walker – bio | email

By Doug Walker – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS  (WLOX) - Dozens of guests looked on as the new building was blessed and dedicated.  Outside, the building is big and impressive. 

Inside is where the real difference is made.  Rows and rows of food and supplies.  Life saving materials in the event of a disaster, like a hurricane. Nancy Loftus is the disaster relief coordinator.  "We have the opportunity to safely store items that we would need in an initial relief effort like food, water and infant items."Loftus said.  "We're hoping to get some materials to secure people's houses when their roof blows off. 

Buying and renovating the building was a labor of love, said Jennifer Williams with Catholic Social Services.  "Almost all of the Catholic Social Services staff put in some sweat equity into this building and it was truly a team effort from the very beginning. 

With today's dedication and blessing, it became even more acutely clear that what the place offers is badly needed now more than ever. The reason. More and more people are out of work because of the oil spill and they need food on the table.

So says Jennifer Keegan of Twelve Baskets Food Bank.  "We really look forward to the poundage and the food that we'll be able to get out and produce to individuals that are in need of food which is desperately great now that we've had the oil disaster that we're dealing with on the gulf coast." 

But Bishop Roger Morin says helping those in times of great despair is also a calling from above. "When we respond with our time, energy and resources to help defeat the hungry." 

And with the building now fully operational, it means those who need help the most can drink from a fountain of hope in the future. 

Donations from Lions Club International and Catholic Social Services made purchasing the property and the renovation possible.   

With the new facility, 12 Baskets Food Bank will be able to serve more than 100 food pantries spanning the entire coast, from Louisiana to Alabama.

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