GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Due to dangerous road conditions, a Gulfport soup kitchen will be closed on Wednesday. Officials with Feed My Sheep say they don't want to risk having their staff and volunteers driving on slippery, icy roads and bridges.
Despite wet, wintry weather on Tuesday, the facility did open its doors to serve hot meals to the hungry. With a chill in the air and freezing rain coming down, the homeless and others in need rushed indoors to thaw out.
"Try to stay warm. It's cold out there," a volunteer told the crowd.
Volunteers from Little Rock Missionary Baptist Church in Gulfport took their positions to serve hot soup and savory rice and beans. For dessert, they served up beautifully decorated cupcakes donated by a local casino.
Pastor James Beal said the sleet and freezing temperatures didn't bother him at all.
"No, didn't even think about it, didn't even think twice. All I was concerned about was whether they were feeding today," Beal said.
Those who rely on the volunteers and meals at Feed My Sheep expressed their appreciation, especially on a cold, wet day like Tuesday.
"It's really cold outside, and I think everybody likes to do this because it helps people that are homeless," said 8-year-old Addison Harvey.
"I think it's a blessing. I'm thanking God to be able to come to a place to eat like this and everything, and to warm up," said Namon Bankston, who is homeless.
With concerns over slick, icy roads ahead, the soup kitchen will close on Wednesday.
"I feel bad that we're closed, but it's for people's safety. I hate the ice because none of us know how to drive in the ice. I wish we could be here for them," said Feed My Sheep Director Wayne Elias.
Feed My Sheep did deliver breakfast food items; fresh fruits and vegetables, desserts and drinks to the Salvation Army in Gulfport. That way, the homeless who come to the shelter will have food to eat Wednesday.
When asked what he was going to do when the soup kitchen closes Wednesday, Carlos Boyd replied, "Well, I take one day at a time."
Feed My Sheep serves between 300 and 400 people a day. Volunteers also deliver about 350 meals to the homebound.