Shepherd of the Gulf provides early Christmas to homeless - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Shepherd of the Gulf provides early Christmas to homeless

James Casey was one of 70 campers who received early Christmas presents Saturday courtesy of Shepherd of the Gulf. (Photo source: WLOX News) James Casey was one of 70 campers who received early Christmas presents Saturday courtesy of Shepherd of the Gulf. (Photo source: WLOX News)
GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

James Casey has been homeless for about a month.

“I’m just out here trying to get on my feet, get a job and get my own place and pretty much get a leg up to a better situation,” Casey said.

But on Saturday, the unemployed pipe fitter was among about 70 homeless people turned out at an early celebration — Campers Christmas.

“It got a sweater right there,” Casey said. “Not a lot of people are happy to get sweaters for Christmas, but when you’re homeless, it’s nice.”

Campers Christmas & Shepherd of The Gulf founder Lynda Favre wanted something extra to give beyond toiletries. Free flu vaccinations were offered by Saad Healthcare, a service Casey appreciated.

“Having something like that is a great help,” Casey said. “It’s not fun being homeless. It’s even worse if you’ve got the flu.”

Shepherd of the Gulf has been doing programs like Campers Christmas since it was organized in 2010. Favre will also be deliver directly to camps for those who can’t make it to the distribution.

“It's a giving time of year, and we need to be giving to those who are less fortunate and hoping that they can have a good holiday with all of us,” said volunteer Kim Flynn. “It makes us feel good, too, to see the smiles on their face and how grateful they are for these bags that they receive.”

And for volunteer Jane Berlin, it’s a long-time passion to help.

“I just met people back before there were tents around they were living in cardboard boxes and plastic over the top of it,” Berlin said. “They were washing their clothes in creeks and stuff. And I’ve just always cared.”

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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