D'Iberville POD Set To Close

It is a difficult, often delicate decision to close a hurricane relief center.

The D'Iberville POD is scheduled to close one week from Saturday. And that planned closing is creating concern.

Those who rely on the POD argue it should be kept open. They say the need remains great. Volunteers who run the relief center say government programs can provide similar services.

Friday is food distribution day at the D'Iberville POD.

"Good morning. I have some spaghetti. Would you like?," asked one of the POD volunteers, helping hand out dry goods in the food line.

"We've helped out a lot of families that had nothing, that we gave a lot to," said a volunteer who helps direct the center.

The place began giving shortly after the storm. Several hundred people find their way there on "food days." But there are signs it's time to wind down.

"The people we're getting in is faces we see everyday now. And I really think it's time to close. Because I think they're pretty well stocked up," said Wanda Toothman, who began volunteering shortly after the storm.

Some who rely on the place disagree. Patricia Reynolds stood in line with her four-year-old grand daughter. She says it's a mistake to shut down.

"First of all, there's so many people over here that don't have anything. Lots of people that don't have anything," she said.

With other PODS already closed, more people are coming to D'Iberville's. Vicky Sconyers of Ocean Springs has visited more than once. She sees the need in her own neighborhood.

"Because there's many people that are still needing help. I mean there's still people living in tents you know. They've having a hard time finding transportation and more places have closed. You have to go out further to find help. And you can't find it," she said.

The people who run the POD understand and admit there will still be people in need even after it closes. But, they are quick to add, there are government agencies prepared to help, things like the food stamp program and WIC, which stands for Women, Infants and Children.

The D'Iberville POD will stop taking donations Saturday, January 7th, before it shuts down the following Saturday.

"We can't stay open forever you know," said Toothman.

While the food distribution center will close a week from Saturday, the free medical clinic at that same site will remain open through next month.