Apache Volunteers Enjoy VIP Visit From Leader

They cook and clean under a big, yellow tent kitchen. Everyday, they feed more than 100 hurricane victims, relief workers, and anyone who needs a hot meal.

"This is a special mission for me, because I'm doing it with my own people, the Apache people," said Beverly Stago.

Beverly Stago and 30 other volunteers from the "White Mountain Apache Indian Reservation" have been running the feeding site on Oak Street for the past two weeks. On Wednesday afternoon, the tribe's leader drove to Biloxi to see the operation for himself, and to thank the crew.

"It's a small reservation by itself over here it looks like," said Dallas Massey, Sr.

"It was great! We were all excited when he was coming. Hey, all right, he's coming! He's going to see what we're really about," said Stago.

Chairman Dallas Massey says his tribe felt the need to come to Biloxi. Three years ago, a devastating fire wiped out half his reservation, and donations poured in to help his people.

"We can't give people money like they give to us after we suffered that horrible loss on the reservation. So a group of us got together and said how can we help," Massey said.

Massey says his visit showed he's proud of his tribe's hard work, and he's glad to hear that many South Mississippians are enjoying a taste of Native American cuisine.

"We have fry bread.  It's our specialty, and beans with it.  But what I heard, the fry bread they make here, they put ice cream with it, and they say man, it's out of this world," said Massey with a laugh.

The Apache volunteers teamed up with the non-profit group "Urban Life Ministries" to run the soup kitchen. Besides serving meals, they also hold prayer services at the feeding site at the Vietnamese Baptist Church property.