GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - It's cooking preparation time at Feed My Sheep. Volunteers prepare all morning for the lunch rush hour.
Roughly 10 to 15 volunteers make lunch for around 400 people a day Monday through Friday. With the holidays drawing near, the nonprofit anticipates even more people will need a meal.
"The day before Thanksgiving, it's so busy. We'll feed about anywhere out here between 550 to 700 people just out front," said Wayne Elias, who is the Director of Feed My Sheep in Gulfport.
Before the holiday crowds start arriving, filling up the food pantry with all the essentials and adding more volunteers is a priority.
"The biggest thing is helping us with the food that we gonna have to serve, or they can help by donating money, too. Also, they can help by just coming in and volunteering, too," Elias explained.
"I was watching television on WLOX, and I saw a segment about Feed My Sheep and feeding the poor. I felt from the Lord that I was supposed to come down and volunteer, and I came down the next day," said volunteer Joseph VanClooster.
For about a year now, VanClooster has spent his Wednesdays in this kitchen. Dedicating that much time without pay comes with other perks for VanClooster.
"The reward for me personally is the self-satisfaction that I'm making a difference," said VanClooster.
Aside from cooking, VanClooster does everything from food prep to washing dishes. Cooking for hundreds of people is no walk in the park, but it ensures people who have fallen on hard times have the food they need to survive.
The food items needed by Feed My Sheep are listed below:
• Holiday seasonings such as sage, salt, pepper, etc.
• Chicken and beef broth
• Gravy mix
• #10 can of yams, green beans and other vegetables
• Cake mixes
• Any kind of dessert
• Cornbread dressing
• Baking powder
• Corn mill
• Dinner rolls
• Gallon jugs of tea
• Metal forks and spoons
To learn more about how you can help, call 228-431-4883. Feed My Sheep is located at 2615 19th Street Gulfport, MS 35901.