Soup Kitchen Needs New Equipment

"You like beef ravioli," asked Ray Buxton.

An easy meal like canned ravioli can be a challenge, if you're using an old oven with a door that doesn't close half the time.

"See this door here? Look at that," Buxton said as he opened the oven and tried to close it tight.

"It's about burned out," said Buxton. "But like I said, we try to use it `cause this is all we got right now."

That's just one of the worries for Buxton. He's a cook for "The Lord is My Help" soup kitchen in Ocean Springs.

"It's pretty old you know," as he showed us the walk-in cooler, which keeps breaking down. "We're talking about a 35 to 40-year-old cooler. You keep it that long, and sooner or later it'll go out."

And a donated dishwasher hasn't worked since day one. Then, Katrina came along, and caused even more trouble.

"We did have a lot of water damage," said Barbara Ruddiman, manager of The Lord is My Help. "We had windows out and a lot of roof damage and because of that, that didn't help obviously the old equipment."

In order to keep feeding the needy, the soup kitchen needs to replace all the aging equipment. Right after the hurricane, about 80 people relied on the soup kitchen for their meals everyday. Now volunteers serve up to 150 meals a day, and that number is expected to grow in the coming months.

"After the storm, there was a lot of money out, Red Cross, FEMA, and that did assist people. But now, that money is running out and there's a need," Ruddiman said.

Volunteers want to continue serving the community by serving up hot meals, so a new oven would certainly help.

Ruddiman laughed and said, "Hopefully, the quality of food will go up too with better equipment to cook on."

The Lord is My Help has received two grants to purchase a new stove and refrigerator. If you can help the soup kitchen buy the rest of the equipment, just call (228) 872-2331.