Volunteers spread Christmas cheer to less fortunate

Volunteers spread Christmas cheer to less fortunate

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The annual Christmas feast at Feed My Sheep in Gulfport  is culmination of a long year of feeding people about 600 meals a day.

On Friday, the holiday celebrations and preparations for those who need it most continued with a lot of spirit.

Even some who are recipients are paying the kindness forward.

Barbara Sheppard is full of holiday cheer. She likes to dress up like Mrs. Claus and handing out candy canes to kids and adults. "I'm just an old granny, full of fun," she said. "Rock and Roll Grandma."

She eats at Feed My Sheep three times a week, but she enjoys giving as much as receiving.

"It just feels so wonderful knowing that you're able to help somebody, even if you just have only a little candy cane to give them," she said. "It's all about the heart."

"Remember, we're here Jan. 3 again and starting all over a new year," said Randy Brownlee, Feed My Sheep executive director. "So, we just appreciate all the support you've given us and we know you'll continue to support the people in your community."

In the parking lot, members of Grace Chapel of Pass Christian once again delivered an early Christmas to the homeless community.

"It gives us a blessing," said Tammy Ladner, a church volunteer. "It's a blessing to be able to serve these people."

This was also the day to gather and prepare the gifts for the annual Campers Christmas in Gulfport, organized by Lynda Favre.

Since she was not feeling well, her son, Kegan Wood, is doing the honors.

"It's important for me to kind of pick up the tab on this one, because she may not be able to this time," Wood said.

These are gifts designed to go beyond just the typical gifts to the homeless.

"It sounds cliché, but it's always the little things that kind of make it a little bit more worthwhile."

Like many others who give, he once received.

"I've struggled with unemployment and even homelessness myself," Wood said. "Opportunities like today are just further chances to give back the kindness that somebody showed to me."

Volunteers for Campers Christmas will meet at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Humane Society of South Mississippi on U.S. 49 in Gulfport.

Feed My Sheep will be closed Christmas Day and Tuesday, but meals will be served in the parking lot both days.

The Harrison County Sheriff's Department will serve Christmas Day at 10:30 a.m.; and volunteers with Little Rock Baptist Church will serve Tuesday at 11:30 a.m.

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