GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - People in the community are stepping up to help the homeless cope with the bitter cold. While organizations like the Salvation Army are opening their doors to shelter those who have no roof over their heads, many people are also opening up their hearts to feed and clothe the needy.
Scarves in red, green, black and stripes flapped in the winter breeze Monday. It was a chilling reminder of how people who live on the streets must be shivering.
"Seeing so many people down here that don't have anything, walking by, bundled up in their t-shirts, no long sleeves or anything, it'll get to you," said Jennifer Suber, Gulfport Sonic General Manager.
Suber suggested tying scarves around the poles outside the restaurant and anyone who needed a scarf can grab one. Since last month, nearly 50-scarves have disappeared.
"These are all new. We've already given out seven poles worth of scarves, and hopefully, we can give out more," said Suber.
There are also stockings filled with gloves and hats, and boxes loaded with blankets, jackets and other warm clothing. Suber has had to refill the boxes four times. All the donations came from employees, friends, and customers.
"To us, it's one scarf or a glove. But to someone else, it might be a matter of being warm or cold for the night," said Suber.
A few blocks away, another group launched a program to help the homeless at Feed My Sheep. Members of the Long Beach High School Interact Club prepared 50-sack lunches and handed them out to those who came into the soup kitchen for lunch.
"We packed sandwiches. We got crackers, chips, water," said Long Beach High Interact Club President Ebonee Dawson. "You don't want them out on the streets cold and it's hard to find shelter places, and this hot food is going to basically bring back life in their hearts."
"I think it's wonderful, especially young people want to have the heart to give and for community. I think that's the best thing, is seeing everybody come in the community to help," said a woman who simply called herself Donna.
The Interact Club held a fundraiser a month ago to purchase the food, and the Sonic in downtown Gulfport will continue the clothing giveaway for as long as it's needed.