Gulfport man launches campaign to buy Christmas gifts for the homeless

Gulfport man launches campaign to buy Christmas gifts for the homeless

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The homeless can feel left out during the holiday season, so imagine their surprise when a total stranger decided to buy them presents.

They didn't ask for anything extravagant, just the basic necessities to survive life on the streets.

The man behind the smiles, Michael Murphy, recently started a campaign called "Christmas Wishes for the Homeless". Murphy teamed-up with the Salvation Army in Gulfport to ask those without a place to call home what they would like for Christmas.

"I don't know what that feels like to not know where I'm going to sleep at night. So we've got to start somewhere and this is where we decided," said Murphy.

The requests he heard touched his heart.

"Biggest things that we saw were shoes, portable radios. We also saw tents and sleeping bags. People were astounded to be asked what they would like for Christmas and a lot of people either hadn't thought about it, or asked for people other than themselves. It was powerful," Murphy said.

Murphy used social media to spread the word. In two weeks, he raised $1,100 to purchase gifts for 30 people. Family and friends also put together 50 gift bags filled with hats, gloves, socks, and personal hygiene products.

Murphy's mother was moved when she gave one man a bag.

"He said, 'You already gave me everything I wanted in this bag' and I was like, 'Oh, but Santa's going to bring you something else,'" said Sherry Wescovich.

The volunteers made Christmas wishes come true for those who may feel forgotten.

"It's exciting, I love it. What better thing could I be doing than handing out Christmas presents," said Murphy.

Murphy is reaching out to businesses and corporations to sponsor the program so he can provide gifts to more than just the homeless in Gulfport, and for more holidays than just Christmas.

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