BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The holidays are supposed to be happy, but for a lot of South Mississippians who have trouble making ends meet every month, it is a stressful time. Friday, the Back Bay Mission made the holidays brighter for hundreds.
"God bless you," Anita Averhart said. "We going to eat."
Averhart is overjoyed because volunteers just loaded a basket full of food into her van. That basket of food means her family can have a meal for Christmas.
"I'm raising grandchildren, and I thank the Lord for that and would do it again," Averheart said. "But to have food on the table, it's wonderful. We are thankful for any little thing we are able to get."
Teyara Tuggle's family has the same trouble.
"We have come here many times because of desperate times in need of food," Tuggle said. "I just thank you and thank God that he created some people out here that just bless people."
Tuggle's mother and step father are disabled.
"I'm just fresh out of school. I work at McDonalds, but I'm fixing to try and get ready and go to school and better myself so I can help my mom and my family out because I'm tired of seeing us struggle," Tuggle said.
Heartbreaking stories like these are what motivate the folks at Back Bay Mission.
Emergency Assistant Case Worker Jill Cartledge said, "We know people are hungry. We know that they are worried about whether or not they are going to pay their rent, pay their utility bill, or feed their family."
"It just blesses me to be able to give back and they are so grateful," Couleen Joyner said. "I really enjoy getting up to come here and being able to volunteer."
With the help of other volunteers and the community, Cartledge and Joyner filled 171 baskets with food for the needy and 50 backpacks for the homeless.
Robert Myers opened up his backpack, saying, "A scarf! Yes, indeed."
While to some it may not seem like much, to Myers this Christmas gift means everything.
"A poncho. The rain is the worst for the homeless when it's cold and rainy," Myers said. "It would be no way we could get anything like that."
"I keep praying and y'all keep praying for us," Averhart said. "God is always good; In the worst time, he's good."