WAVELAND, MS (WLOX) - Despite encouraging signs of an improving economy, many still struggle to provide the basic essentials like food.
"I've lived in Hancock County for 20 years," said Shepherd's Pantry Chairperson Judith Stevens. "The first thing I realized was the poverty level here."
Shepherd's Pantry in Waveland was started by the Waveland United Methodist Church and other churches in the area to help those in need. The pantry's mission has grown since its beginning, one year ago.
"In those first two months we had about 42 families. Now, we're servicing over 200 families a month," said Stevens.
The pantry is funded in part by grants and Feed America. Food is given out to families by appointment only, and there is even a mobile pantry to reach communities throughout Hancock County.
"Mobile pantry is a monthly one day event in which we give out food to needy families in a particular section of Hancock County and it changes every month," Stevens explained.
The next mobile food pantry will be on May 24 in the Bay-Waveland area. To register, call 228-493-2091.
For volunteers, being able to fill a need is the best part of the pantry.
"I've seen individuals who have come for help in the beginning, somewhat downtrodden in their soul and their appearance and their heart, who now come in with a whole different lift that somebody cares," said volunteer Vicki Broedel.
The pantry is in need of volunteers and donations of food or money. If you want to get involved, contact the number above.