WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - By Al Showers - email
WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Hancock County's very first soup kitchen opened its doors to the needy Wednesday. Shepard's Kitchen will open once a week to anyone who finds themselves in need.
Organizers say opening day was a big success. Volunteers began serving lunch at 11am and by the time the last hot meal had been served at 2pm, nearly 30 people had left with their bellies full.
"I'm 81 and I'm on Social Security and I'm always short of cash," said Betty Gillan. "It will be one less meal I'll have to pay for . I'm poor like everybody else right now."
"It's pretty tough having a baby on the way, being your first kid and the economy being as bad as it is," Amanda Turgeau said. "It's going to help a lot of people."
It will certainly help people like Joyce Sims, who is living on a fixed income and still trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina.
"My husband had got sick and couldn't work no more, and now I have to take care of him cause he's a heart patient," Sims said. "Month to month, it's hard on us because of the bills and everything else. My husband and I are living in a camper since five years ago."
Shepard's Kitchen is the brain child of Pastor Robert Gales. While he was pleased with opening day, the church had prepared for an even bigger crowd of 60 to 80 people.
"We had quite a few families come in that needed the meal," he said. "We probably just haven't been able to reach the people that really need to know that it's here."
Church volunteer Jeana Weiss agreed.
"I thought it went great for the first day," Weiss said. "I'm just glad there's a place in Hancock County. There are so many things in the other counties, and there are needs here you can't avoid it. It's people that you'd never expect, people with six figure, high paying incomes are now having trouble and struggling. It's for everyone."
Waveland United Methodist Church is the host location for the free lunch service. Meals will be served once a week on Wednesdays. The church is located on the corner of Central Avenue and Vacation Lane.
Church leaders hope to eventually open the soup Kitchen five days a week.