PASS CHRISTIAN, MS (WLOX) - A soup kitchen born out of Hurricane Katrina is evolving in hopes of better serving the community. Goodwill Missionary Baptist Church in Pass Christian serves free, hot meals once a week.
Recently, church members decided to take their feeding program to the next level as a non-profit organization called Gone Fishing Ministries.
Every Wednesday morning, you'll find 85-year-old Thomas Boyd at Goodwill Baptist Church handing out cups of his signature lemonade. Boyd has been volunteering at the soup kitchen since day one.
"I just love it. I don't get paid, but I love it," Boyd said. "I can't wait until Wednesday morning to come over here. I really enjoy it."
Goodwill Baptist started serving hot meals nine years ago as part of hurricane disaster relief. Volunteers said although many residents are back in their homes, the need to feed the hungry never went away. Officials said many of the people who come by for the free meals are workers on their lunch breaks.
"We've done some research, and we found salaries are not increasing as much as the other cost of living expenses," said Sonya Ashley, co-chairperson. "They may be short in other areas where we're able to help them with providing these meals."
Andrew Fountain is another long time volunteer.
"There's a lot of people in this area that's hungry. A lot of people in this area who need food and a hot meal. There will always be a need for that," Fountain said. "I'm hoping, in the near future, we can go to three days a week and hopefully, by mid next year, we can go to five a days a week. That's my long term goal here."
Volunteers hope to reach that goal now that they're a 501-3c nonprofit called Gone Fishing Ministries.
"The funds that we've received have been strictly from church support, individual community member support," Ashley said. "We have had some grant funding, but we feel that with the expansion into the certified non-profit that we'll be able to qualify for additional funding, and also we'll be able to expand our services to not only providing the weekly meals that we provide currently, but also to expand to provide several days a week as well as some educational programs about our health issues."
Church volunteers said there is no greater blessing than serving others. Gone Fishing Ministries also delivers meals to the homebound and elderly.
For more information, call 228-452-9993.