Coast soup kitchens seeing more children go hungry

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - At the Lord Is My Help in Ocean Springs, the day's meal has to be prepared. Supplies have to be ordered, and then the assembly line of volunteers shifts into high gear. Parents and their children are suffering. Barbara Ruddiman is the manager.

"We're getting much more families through our food pantry where the families come for emergency groceries that they then take home, if they still have a home to go to," Ruddiman said.

Catherine Chernecky moved to the coast one and a half years ago. She's been a volunteer here since day one.

"We often times get children in with their families," Chernecky said. "We do have criteria and federal guidelines that we have to qualify them for, but most families that come in do qualify for food here."

That food is kept in a large pantry, ready to be handed out to those in need. But even big companies display a big heart and lend a helping hand. Danny Ainsworth works with a food service vendor in New Orleans.

"I try and give them wonderful prices because of what the function that goes on here," Ainsworth said.  "It's not like an everyday restaurant that you go in, and I try to be very fair with these people."

While the people who run the Lord Is My Help are doing the very best they can to feed hungry people, even they admit, with the economy the way it is, things are not going to be any better, anytime soon.

"Unless you bring jobs to the area it's just not going to change," Ruddiman said. "I don't care about all the benefits you could give, until you get jobs and people working, it's just not going to get better."

What is better is the feeling of accomplishment these volunteers get every time they the box up a meal or dish up a hearty plateful of food for the most vulnerable in our society.

The Lord Is My Help survives almost entirely on donations. If you'd like to help, just stop by the kitchen on Desoto Avenue in downtown Ocean Springs with a gift of cash or food.

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