Local Charity Seeks Out Needs Door To Door

When the office phones weren't ringing often enough, a local charity took a more active approach to finding and meeting the needs of the community.

A year and a half ago, Mercy Housing hired Deborah Armstrong as its Pass Christian coordinator. Armstrong says she's determined to help the city rebuild, even if she has knock on every door in town to do it.

"I go street to street because I know them and I just will knock on the door and ask," said Armstrong.

One street at a time. One door at a time. Armstrong searches Pass Christian for people who need help, but don't know how to ask.

"A lot of Pass Christian is elderly," she said. "These people have been in their homes, living in these homes for years and generations. They have no transportation. A lot of them still have no family that can provide that on them. Some don't want to impose on anybody for anything."

Spending time with people like Irven and Rosemary Baker is how Armstrong learned that many elderly residents with houses built up high were having trouble getting up and down the stairs.

Irven Baker said, "My wife is kind of messed up on one side, her leg. So she has trouble getting up and down the steps and things."

Pass Christian born and raised, Armstrong says she often does follow up visits if only to sit and listen.

Armstrong said, "If I just sit and have patience to sit down and talk. Some of them just want to talk and get it off their chest."

Last weekend, the Bakers got one of 15 chair lifts through a grant secured by Mercy Housing. There are times when the Armstrong has to tell people she can't help.

"It gets me sick. I've cried. I get full," said Armstrong. "But then I just take a step back and look at the good in the little things that have happened and I don't think that's the end of it so I kind of look at it as maybe not this time, that particular, but I'm always looking for it."

It's those successes, no matter how small, that Armstrong says keeps her moving on.  She says Mercy Housing has also secured grants to help Pass Christian residents' rebuilding needs like flooring, wiring, plumbing and furniture.