Soup kitchen prepares for holidays despite drop in donations

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - By Danielle Thomas – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Thanksgiving is a little more than a month away, which makes the need to fill food pantry shelves a top priority. An Ocean Springs food pantry is already collecting donations to help dozens of needy families put a great holiday meal on the table.

Every year, The Lord Is My Help gives out 150 holiday food baskets thanks to donations from the community. But officials say this year they're concerned because some of people who usually donate don't have the means to give.

The staff says because so many people need help feeding their families, when donations do come in, it doesn't take long before the cupboards are again bare.

"Our donations are down by about 40 percent, however, we're getting more and more people that are coming in that need help," said manager Barbara Ruddiman. "So you can see, we're constantly asking for donations, be it monetary or can goods."

Each Thanksgiving, The Lord Is My Help gives away turkey and all the fixings to needy Ocean Springs families. But this year, some of the donors who've been helping to fill those food baskets are facing their own economic hardships.

"Being that the economy is not that good right now, our normal people that donate are trying to do the best they can, but they can't give as much as they have in the past," said Ruddiman. "So we're trying to find more people out there that perhaps may be in a better situation that can help us out."

Ruddiman blames the slump in donations on a struggling economy and a weak job market. She sees no relief in sight, so she's hoping this Thanksgiving, those who can give will give what they can.

"I'd love to get $5. I have no problem doing that," Ruddiman said. "Also, needless to say, we'd like to get that check for a $1,000 too. We're happy with everything that comes in."

The Lord Is My Help needs frozen turkeys, dressing mix, potatoes, and canned goods for its Turkey Basket Giveaway. The food pantry is also taking monetary donations. If you would like to help, call (228) 872-2331.

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