GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Employees with the City of Gulfport delivered an early Christmas gift on Tuesday. They've been collecting food items to help re-stock the pantry at a downtown church.
An antique fire truck served as Santa's sleigh, making a delivery donation to help replenish the pantry shelves at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. Firefighters helped unload the much needed canned food and other pantry staples.
"Oh, it means a lot because we've given out so much food this past month, out stock was depleted," said Henry Kremer, a longtime volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul.
City employees spent the past few weeks collecting the goods at various donation stations throughout Gulfport.
"We're blessed and we realize it. We saw a need in the community and we're able to help out along with the rest of our city employees, and we're just happy we can make a difference," said Gulfport Fire Chief Mike Beyerstedt.
"It's a great opportunity for us to get together as a team, as a city, and give back. We all thought this would be a good project. This is a great organization. We put up canned food drives through the city and collected and brought them over this morning," said city spokesman Chris Vignes.
Those who help run the pantry say the truckload of goods from the city employees will help dozens of area families in need. And that need is great.
"And it's growing. It's really amazing to me, I had no idea it would swell the way it has. We're open two days a week and usually when I get here there's a line of people waiting to get in," said Kremer.
Shortly after the goods were unloaded, the pantry already had people stopping by for help. Thanks to donations like this one, the pantry will be well stocked to begin the new year.