WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - A Waveland church wants to make sure no Hancock County families are going hungry during these tough economic times.
Waveland United Methodist Church will soon open the county's first soup kitchen. The church will provide hot meals for the homeless, or anyone who finds themselves having trouble putting food on their table. Church leaders say the need is greater than most folks would imagine.
"Waveland area and Hancock County has a lot of low income people and this is a way to make sure everybody is afforded a healthy meal. We have a steady stream of people that are in need in this County. And I think it's kind of been swept under the rug that they are out there," Pastor Robert Gayles said.
The Fellowship Hall at Waveland United Methodist will double as the dinning room for the new soup kitchen. Pastor Gayles isn't sure how many people he should expect to see there, but he knows there are a lot of people experiencing hard times.
"There's not been any real study in Hancock County to find out the exact extent of the need. A lot of what we hear is from other pastors, people stopping into their churches. The Housing Resource Center has people living in cars."
Church volunteer Jeana Weiss agrees that the need to desperate.
"There are several people living in the woods. There's a lot of need," Weiss said. "A lot of people are too proud. Met a woman yesterday in Gulfport, as a matter of fact, and she was trying to find some food. She was so embarrassed and so humiliated about it, but that's not the way to be. I mean everyone is having problems with the economy. Everyone is struggling. Please don't feel embarrassed or humiliated to come."
A hot lunch will be served once a week from 11am until 2pm. Weiss said there are no income restrictions or ID requirements.
"Even if you're a millionaire, you're welcome to come," Weiss said.
Pastor Gayles said he wants those who come to feel at home.
"It's just an open door policy that were having," Gayles said.
The first hot meal will be served Wednesday, October 27. The pastor hopes to eventually be open seven days a week.
Waveland United Methodist Church is located on the corner of Central Avenue and Vacation Lane, about two blocks West of Coleman Avenue. The church also runs a food pantry for Hancock County residents, but that service is offered by appointment only. You can make an appointment to get food by calling (228) 493-2091.