GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Hundreds of families now have some extra food to add to their refrigerators and pantries.
On Saturday, the nonprofit Extend a Hand - Help a Friend organized a community food giveaway with help from several other Coast organizations and community leaders.
“A lot of our communities are plagued by underlying conditions of COVID 19, so getting them some fresh, hearty, healthy meals they can prepare inside their homes that helps them not only social distance but also stay safe, and get the quality meals they need to fight the underlying conditions in their homefront,” said Jeffrey Hulum III, organizer and CEO of Extend a Hand - Help a Friend.
Feeding the Gulf Coast provided around 19,000 pounds of food for this giveaway.
Volunteers loaded bags and boxes full of food into cars as they drove through the line - a line that filled the parking lot of Milner Stadium.
Some people lined up as early as 6 a.m., eager and grateful for the extra help.
“I’m a widow, I’m by myself, and I appreciate everything I get,” said Fannie Gillmore.
For some, the giveaway was a safer alternative to the grocery store.
“It keeps us from having to go around all the people in the stores that could have viruses and could not have it. So it keeps us safe when we come here,” said Cynthia Willis.
This is the largest food giveaway Extend a Hand - Help a Friend has hosted with the goal of providing some extra assistance to people during the pandemic.
“So many people are out of work and then they’re losing their second part of their unemployment, and it takes everything to make things meet nowadays. And with what we’re giving in these boxes and these bags, it can help them out a lot,” said Wanda Bradshaw, a volunteer with Saturday’s event.
“It’s not much but it’s something just to show that the community and the city cares about them,” Hulum said.