Salvation Army gears up to help the homeless

By Doug Walker – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - At the Salvation Army shelter in Pascagoula, it's time to pull out the extra blankets and sheets that are usually in storage.  A big crowd is expected Monday night.

Lt. Jerry Williams is the Salvation Army director he said, "Our average per night is about 15 to 20 men, women, and children and during the freeze nights it can get anywhere between 30 to 40, upwards to 60 people in the building."

But, how do the homeless know where to go for the help they desperately need.  Williams has the answer.  "Oh, those who want a warm place to stay, they know to come here." Williams said.  "They just usually show up by word of mouth and they show up to our door anywhere between 7:30p.m. and 9 O'Clock."

In the kitchen Carl Harris stays busy preparing a feast for those who need a hot meal.  With a menu like this, Harris said no one will go away hungry.  "We would like to have a full course meal like chicken, steak, beans, rice, cornbread, rolls, cake, pies and what have you."

The main mission of the Salvation Army on bitterly cold nights is food and shelter for the homeless. But, their mission goes well beyond just one night of service.

Shelter director Marilyn Brister spends the morning counting donations, knowing the needy are counting on her for help.  "Just basically whatever they need, they need clothing, we give them vouchers to our family store." Brister said.  "I look for jobs, some of them need medication and we try and give them places to go for medications for help, we try and help them find apartments so it's different things that each one of them need."

With dedication like this, no one will ever lack a place to call home and keep warm, at least for one night.

The Salvation Army shelter will remain open as long as the overnight temperature is 35 degrees or less.

The shelter is funded entirely through donations to the Salvation Army.

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