With constant state budget cuts and donations dwindling, a shelter for women and children in Moss Point is in need of a helping hand. Now, those at Abundant Grace Emergency Shelter are asking for people to dig deep into their pockets and give.
As Esther Swenson tidies up her room at the shelter, she reflects on how blessed she is to have place to stay.
"It is hard; it is hard because I don't want to be a burden to other people. It just didn't feel like I belonged anywhere and now here I have a sense of belonging," Swenson said.
Director Cathy Keeton said Esther is just one of success stories at this women and children's shelter. Over the past year, nearly 80 homeless and helpless folks on the coast have stayed at the shelter.
"Most of our clientele are between the ages of 25 and 35. When they bring in small children who are afraid and sometimes they are dirty, if we can bring them in, give them a hot bath, play with them a little bit and see their faces light up, it is just a wonderful feeling."
But during these tough economic times, funding is always a challenge.
"One of our greatest responsibilities at the shelter is to maintain it. We have some leaks and stuff going on," Keeton said.
The shelter also needs reliable transportation.
"Whether I can get a van that is a donation, used or new, we can help so many more women and children get to our shelter. Once they are here in the evenings, we can make sure they get to their appointments," Keeton said.
These women said without the help, it could hurt the shelter and many others still in need.
"You don't want people walking on the streets with children who are hungry, hot, or cold when we could do more collectively as a community to transition them to more stable housing."
If you would like to donate to the Abundant Grace Emergency Shelter, call (228) 627-4823.