Give-Away Makes A Difference For Homeless In the Area

Some local volunteers are trying to improve life for the homeless here on the Coast. Students from St. Stanislaus and workers from the Isle of Capri casino teamed up with Loaves and Fishes in Biloxi to provide care packages for the homeless Saturday, National Make-A-Difference Day.

Toothpaste, razors and soap may not seem like much to most people., but John Sly knows these personal hygiene items can mean the difference between an honest day's work and another idle day on the streets.

"The majority of people that come in here, they try to keep themselves clean because a lot of us go up to Labor Finders and go out on jobs everyday," Sly said. "It's something you've gotta have."

Dozens of homeless men and women on the coast are now better prepared for the job force. That's because they were able to pick up care bags collected for Make-A-Difference Day at Loaves and Fishes.

"You don't have to walk around looking like a bum in public," said a homeless man who identified himself only as Roy. "If you can clean up and shave up, there are so many people running around going look at this pathetic sight." Roy didn't want to show his face for a TV interview, but he said you can rest assured that he will blend in a little better on the streets, thanks to the personal hygiene items he picked up.

Loaves and Fishes Coordinator Rita Baldwin admits the give-away is a quick fix, but she says fighting homelessness can only be handled one day and one person at a time. Rita Baldwin, Loaves and Fishes: "Giving them packages, giving these things out is one of the band-aid fixes. That's why this year, I wanted to make the focus of what we're doing on Make-A-Difference day is to let people know that the need is here all year long," Baldwin said.

But for today, John Sly, is just thankful for the personal hygiene items he picked up and feels he's better prepared to land a full-time job that could eventually get him off the streets.

Loaves and Fishes feeds the hungry and provides other services for the homeless and needy in the area. If you'd like to make a donation, or volunteer with Loaves and Fishes, call 436-6172.