Jewish Group Helps Gulfport Soup Kitchen

A Jewish organization is reaching out to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. B'nai B'rith International made several disaster recovery donations Monday.

The group's generosity will help a well known Gulfport soup kitchen.

"We run the program with 100 volunteers, men and women who give of their time," said Joe Steinwinder, as he pointed to where the soup kitchen used to operate.

That was before Katrina destroyed the longtime home of Feed My Sheep.

"And I had a little store room over there," a volunteer said, pointing to the rubble.

The Jewish group B'nai B'rith International is helping the soup kitchen recover. Harold Steinberg brought a $5,000 donation.

"This community was so hard struck by Katrina, it was just necessary for B'nai B'rith to step in and do something. Our members and volunteers across the country contributed one million dollars to our disaster relief fund and we're happy to put some of it here in the Mississippi Gulf Coast," said Harold Steinberg, with B'nai B'rith International.

Jewish teaching includes a concept which means "repair the world."

"It's part of our tradition. And there are so many groups that we've either been personally involved with, I've been a volunteer at Feed My Sheep in the past, and then there are other groups we just know have been in need. And we want to give back. It's the right thing to do," said Lori Beth Susman, with Congregation Beth Israel.

Feed My Sheep has long been recognized for its ongoing efforts to care for the needy in this community. In fact, it got national recognition from the first President Bush, who named it number 905 in his familiar "thousand points of light."

Feed My Sheep recently purchased property a block away from its storm damaged location.

Joe Steinwinder, who volunteers at the soup kitchen, is looking toward the rebuilding.

"My vision is a building rising here. So, I'm not looking at the slab. I'm looking at the building we know will be here," he said optimistically.

B'nai B'rith International will help make that happen.

"We will be back. It would take more than a hurricane to keep us down," Steinwinder promised.

Feed My Sheep needs $400,000 for its building project. So far, the charity has raised about a quarter of that amount.