OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Three days a week, a trailer arrives at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Ocean Springs. Hundreds of pounds of food are unloaded for Samaritan Ministry. The food is then packed in boxes, ready to be given away to hundreds of people along the coast.
The need is great, according to Bonnie Furniss with the ministry.
"I can have anywhere from 45 to 65 individual families that come each day," Furniss said.
For 13 years, Samaritan Ministries has been handing out help, the last ten with food assistance for those less fortunate. Prior to that, it was gas vouchers and housing vouchers. But now, Samaritan Ministries needs help.
"We would like to have a permanent home," Furniss explained. "We have moved, this is the third time now, and it seems each time we move we sort of outgrow it and we need to get something bigger."
People receiving the assistance are grateful, even at this temporary location. One of them is Mary Bonnette.
"It helps out a lot," Bonnette said. "What they are doing here is a really good job and they have a great crew here. Miss Bonnie is a really good person."
"It means the world to me, because without it, I would not be eating properly," John Miller said. "I've been coming here about three years now."
While Samaritan Ministry fills hungry stomachs, it also fills the spirits of the volunteers. One of them is Tara Rigby.
"Just pretty much giving back to the community. We've had people help us when we needed help, so it's just kind of paying it forward," Rigby said.
Those closest to the ministry don't even want to think about what would happen if it folded.
"It would be devastating," Miller said. "It would be real hard to a lot of people."
If you're a business owner and can help out with a permanent location for the food pantry, call Samaritan Ministry at (228) 697-9291.