South Mississippi Strong: Lifetime volunteer finds the blessing in being a blessing to others

South Mississippi Strong: Lifetime volunteer finds the blessing in being a blessing to others

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - There are few places on the Coast where Ted Hearn has not volunteered his time to help someone in need. His undying devotion to serve has changed hundreds of lives for the better.

To an outsider looking in, Ted’s meal deliveries may not look like anything extraordinary. But Ted knows he delivers much more than just a meal to people every Tuesday and Thursday.

For some, he’s their prayer warrior. He’s a friend. He’s someone who cares.

Two days out of the week, he spends about an hour and 30 minutes delivering 30-plus meals to more than 300 people who are homebound and rely on Feed My Sheep.

“To see people and know that you’re trying to help people who need a little help like this," Ted said. “And know that you can make them happy for just having a meal that they can have for lunch or either at their supper meal.”

Ted has always been a man with a heart to serve. He served our country as a Brigadier General in the National Guard. And now, in addition to serving meals, the 86-year-old serves in his church and a number of community organizations.

“It’s something that you can’t help. You just feel led to do it. And so, it’s not a job. It’s just something that you want to do and need to do,” he explained.

It’s a simple equation to Hearn. When there’s a need, he finds a way to help.

It’s why he began volunteering with the Salvation Army of the Gulf Coast as a board member, helping the homeless to not only get on their feet, but also giving them hope. And when he saw a need to help the homeless get a fresh start, he knew he couldn’t stand by and do nothing.

“So, now I realized this is the second largest place in the state of Mississippi, and there’s no place for a homeless person to take a shower or wash their clothes,” he said.

That’s how the Fresh and Clean Program was born. Now heading into its eighth year, the volunteer-ran program operates three days a week.

“It was not just to wash clothes. It was to be a ministry to people that were in need,” said Ted.

And from helping the homeless to serving meals, that exactly how he would describe his work, as a ministry.

“I always try to tell people when we give them assistance. We generally tell people, this assistance, this is not from us. This is God’s grace to you. It’s God’s gift. It’s God’s grace to you,” he said.

And God’s gift to him? He says is the opportunity itself to serve.

“It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing to be a blessing to somebody else,” Ted said.

If you are someone or know of someone who could benefit from Feed my Sheep’s meal delivery service, you can call the non-profit at (228) 864-2701 or simply drop by their location in Gulfport at 2615 19th Street to apply.

They’re also desperately in need of more drivers.

Visit the Salvation Army website for more information about the organization’s services.

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