Community Kitchen Celebrates 25 Years

BILOXI (WLOX) -- As the anniversary celebration got underway, Sandra Codella pieced together a scrapbook of Loaves and Fishes. For 25 years, the community kitchen has been provided food and help to those in need.

"When I first came in, I came in, I was living on the street as a matter of fact. I lived on my handicapped scooter. Somebody told me to come down here and get food, and I did," said Codella.

Codella was homeless for four months, but with help from Loaves and Fishes, she's now back on her feet.

"They've helped me with rent, getting a place to live, clothing," Codella said.

Codella now volunteers with Loaves and Fishes.

Mary Bullard works full time with the community kitchen. She also knows what it's like to be on both sides of the food line.

"The job I had ran out, actually they ran out of business, and I needed some help with a bill, so I came here, and then they helped me, and to show my appreciation, I decided to volunteer, and from there I landed a job," Bullard said.

Katrina flooded Loaves and Fishes with more than eight feet of water, temporarily putting them out of service, but the kitchen's director, Rita Baldwin, said there was a silver lining in Katrina's storm clouds.

"We have more money available to us. We are participating in foundation programs that are giving up money to do these new programs," Baldwinsaid.

With the expansion of these programs, Baldwin believes it's a great time to be celebrating an organization that gives so much.

Baldwin says South Mississippi's casinos have played a big role in helping Loaves and Fishes stay open and expand their services. The IP Resort Casino and Spa and The Beau Rivage provide food at least once a month .

If you'd like to volunteer or make a donation, call (228) 436-6172.