BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Those who run a Biloxi soup kitchen said while food donations allow them to spend very little on food, they still need a considerable amount of money to cover other expenses and keep the doors open. The youth group at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer volunteers show up once a month at Loaves and Fishes. On Memorial Day, the young people sold fish plates to raise money for the soup kitchen.
Youth Director Lauren Schultz said, "We want the kids to get familiarized with helping and reaching out to the public and working with the community.
"I think it's important to set the example for the children on service for the community especially on a day like Memorial Day," said church member and father Ben Wilder.
Loaves and Fishes serves between 6,000 and 8,000 meals each month. Officials said while most of the food they serve is donated, they must continually look for money to cover expenses like rent, equipment maintenance, supplies and salaries for the soup kitchen's four employees.
"We spend about $120,000 to $130,000 a year or about $10,000 a month on keeping this place open and keeping it running so we can feed people," said Joseph Gautier, Loaves & Fishes Program Coordinator. "To go along with that we have about that much in food donations."
Gautier said, "So this fundraiser is critical. This will actually keep us open for two or three weeks with fundraising. We try to do three or four of these a year. We depend on the rest for people to donate and feed God's hungry people."
Officials said they couldn't feed the hungry without the community's support. Pat Byrd went by to purchase a fish plate.
Byrd said, "There's a lot of hungry people around here that need help and days like today make us all realize how lucky we are that we have something that we are able to share with other people. And I do believe in sharing."