Residents Seeking Salvation Army Assistance Leave Empty Handed

Many Jackson County residents say they turned to the Salvation Army for help, but came up empty handed.

Tuesday, hundreds of people waited outside of the Moss Point Salvation Army office for vouchers to stores like Wal-Mart and Lowes. Cars were backed up for several blocks on Bellview Drive.

Tempers flared when most everyone left with only appointments to see case workers at another time.

Salvation Army leaders say people simply got some bad information.

"My son called me and told me they were giving away vouchers," Resident Eva Hord said.

"At this point, I can use $100 on each card," Philis Wiley said.

"I've been here an hour and a half," Donna Freeman said.

But the line, they say, didn't seem to move.

"It moves once or twice, but it doesn't look like it's doing to much of nothing," James Hathore said.

That's because there was a holdup in the front. Those in line were being told they're waiting for nothing.

"There's no line. There's no reason for you to be in line," one Salvation Army representative said.

Anita Hood called that "ridiculous." She said she and others went to the Salvation Army office on Monday and were told to come back Tuesday for help - no appointment necessary.

"I was out here yesterday at four o'clock until about eight. A lady came out and told us to come back today. They were going to help us today," Catessa Clark said.

"If we didn't need any assistance, we would not be out here," Christina Thomas said.

"They are outright lying to the public. They just won't tell the public the truth," Anita Hood said.

The situation turned ugly when more and more people found out the trip was a waste of time.

"Wasn't any line? They sent us away before 9 o'clock. They said come back today," one lady argued.

"I know I will not be giving to the Salvation Army anymore. I can tell you that," Hood added.

Salvation Army Liaison Kim Stevens said it was all a big misunderstanding.

"I think they're getting inaccurate information from their neighbors, their friends, from other people. We're no longer doing Christmas distribution. We're back to normal routine, social services."

Stevens said homeowners are the only people who can receive vouchers from the Salvation Army, but they must go through a case worker to get one.

Officials also say they are booked up until February with appointments and will not be accepting anymore applicants.