Samaritan Ministry Food Pantry in Ocean Springs may be forced to - - The News for South Mississippi

Samaritan Ministry Food Pantry in Ocean Springs may be forced to close

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More then 70 people each day file through the door that leads into Samaritan Ministry Food Pantry on Thorn Avenue hoping to receive some can goods or frozen chickens to help feed their families.

Stephen Thomas, his wife and mother rely on the pantry.

"The need is still there," Thomas said.

Thomas is in the final stages of rebuilding his home in Pascagoula after Katrina and said the Samaritan Ministry Food Pantry filled a need. 

"This place has really helped fill in a void to help us and keep down our cost as far as our rebuilding efforts which have been tremendous," Thomas said.

Director Bonnie Furniss started the Samaritan Ministry Food Pantry four years ago at an Ocean Springs church, but since so many people needed help, the non-profit food pantry moved into a bigger place at a shopping center rent free. But now a new owner started charging.

"He prefers to rent it rather than be a tax right off for us and we understand that," Furniss said. "We just haven't got any places that have come available so we are searching for some place to go. By the end of January we are going to have to pay rent again. But that cuts into the money that we have for food for our people. So we don't want to have to do that if we don't have to."

If the food pantry can't come up with $500 for the monthly rent it will be forced to shut down.  Mary Thomas said that would cause a problem.

"It would be a little harder the economy, as it is. I'm on a fixed income. I've been blessed in so many ways, but this has really been a God send for me," Thomas said.

Volunteers are looking for a location, with room to build shelves, refrigerators and freezers and a place to distribute the food to those who need it.

"I have so many people that come in that are really thankful for what they can have and they have told me if it wasn't for us the pantry they would go hungry," Furniss said.

If you would like to help the Samaritan Ministry Food Pantry in Ocean Springs call 228-697-9291.

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