Project Homeless Connect reaching those in need

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - By Jessica Bowman – email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Hundreds of people in desperate need of shoes, blankets, eye exams and much more were able to receive the help they needed Monday. Local businesses, non-profit organizations, volunteers and others joined hands to host Project Homeless Connect at the Donal Snyder Community Center in Biloxi.

Survival bags were filled with the necessary items for people who are living on the streets and in temporary shelters to survive.

"I enjoy the crowd," LaDon Woullard said. "I think the festivities here are nice and the gifts are wonderful."

Woullard has lived on the Gulf Coast for many years. He said he's grateful to all those who take time to help the homeless community.

"I got my blood pressure taken and I've also received some little things for the winter like winter caps. You know, they're giving out free shoes, so why not take advantage of it?"

Hundreds of people lined up at more than 40 booths to receive backpacks filled with sanitary items, coats, hair cuts, eye exams and much more.

Project Homeless Connect Organizer Brandi Clarke represented Open Doors Homeless Coalition.

"It just makes sense to bring everyone together under one roof to really help these folks, because the transportation seems to be an issue at times," Clarke said. "In order to get all their needs met, they have to take a hike and travel."

Clarke said there are more than 600 homeless people living on the streets throughout the Gulf Coast that need help getting on their feet.

"Ultimately, we'd like to bring awareness to the face of homelessness on the Gulf Coast and really get a move to minimizing the issue," said Clarke.

Woullard said, "I think it's a God blessing for these people to come out especially during this time of the year, because we're in the holiday season to be able to reach out with a helping hand."

Thanksgiving dinner was also served during the event. The hope is to make the event an annual tradition.

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