Charity distribution center for the homeless destroyed in fire

By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A charity that reaches out to the homeless is sifting through the ashes. A a fire destroyed St. Vincent DePaul's distribution center in Biloxi on Saturday morning. The charity is part of the Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church parish. Volunteers are now thinking about how they'll go about picking up the pieces.

St. Vincent DePaul Director Susan Taylor said, "We have no clue as to what happened."

Even after the flames were out, smoke poured out of the St. Vincent DePaul distribution center. The fire took the building and everything in it.

"Our distribution building carries all of our donated goods," said Taylor. "These items we give to the poor and those in need in our area. We have a lot of clothing in there, a lot of household items."

Volunteer Ed Crouse said, "We help the homeless and people that are just trying to get back on their feet."

Volunteers who have given so much of themselves to helping people in need were distraught seeing their hard work reduced to ash and rubble.

"It was really heart wrenching because there's so many people come asking for clothes. A lot of people come asking for some nice stuff because they have job interviews," said Crouse. "I feel like it's my fault. I was supposed to be watching everything back here. I do the best I can."

Although St. Vincent DePaul canceled a yard sale fundraiser on Saturday, they said their ministry will carry on. Volunteers say they have faith in God's wisdom and in the community's generosity.

"St. Vincent DePaul is such a wonderful organization in that it lets you live out your love of your faith," said Taylor. "For all of us Vincentians here, it's an opportunity for us to just be Christ to those we serve. "

"We'll be back," said Crouse. "The donations, the people of Biloxi and the surrounding areas have been more than gracious in the donations that we get to help the people out."

Biloxi fire officials say the fire broke out around 8:00 a.m. Investigators have yet to determine the cause, and no one was hurt.

If you would like to donate to St. Vincent DePaul you can call 228-388-1837.

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