"Loaves and Fishes" needs a miracle. Those are the first words of a fund-raising letter sent out recently by the Biloxi soup kitchen.
Loaves and Fishes feeds the hungry. It dishes out up to 100 meals a day.
"A lot of people think that people that come to soup kitchens are just bums and they don't do anything. But there's a lot of people who do work and do the best they can to make ends meet," said manager Rita Baldwin.
The soup kitchen itself is having trouble making ends meet. A growing need and too few supporters are creating real worries this summer.
"If we don't start getting significant supporters that contribute on a regular basis, we are going to go out of business. That's how glum it is," she explained.
Kim Johnson is a weekly volunteer. She's fulfilling a commitment to qualify for a Habitat for Humanity house.
"I was actually quite shocked to see the amount of people that come through here. You know, during lunches I was like, you know, you see them on the street all the time. But half of them are actually working and they come here to eat lunch because they can't afford to spend money to eat out," said Johnson.
One local business recently agreed to pay Loaves and Fishes' rent for a full year. Enough gestures of support like that could keep this community mission in business.
"Individuals are really the bulk of our supporters. When an individual sends us ten dollars a week, that adds up to more than a corporation might give us for a one time donation," Baldwin explained.
Without significant support, the kitchen that's been serving meals and hope for 22 years could be closing down by the end of summer.
Loaves and Fishes is located on Main Street in Biloxi. If you'd like to donate to the community soup kitchen, you can phone (228) 436-6172.