BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - For the last 14 years, volunteers from the Hard Rock have prepared and served a Thanksgiving meal at Back Bay Mission for the needy.
And in a year that has seen the Coast hit by a pandemic and a hurricane, it was important to continue the tradition.
“I think it gives our community, especially in this year we’ve had, 2020,” said Back Bay Mission Home At Last case worker Sarah Boone. “I think it gives them a little bit of hope, a little bit of normalness.”
Sammi Greco of Hard Rock Hotel and Casino also added “It’s making a time of uncertainty just a little bit more consistent. They know that this is something that has always happened and it has happened for the last 14 years, and we didn’t want to just stop because of 2020 and what’s going on.”
Back Bay Mission serves the homeless community, many of whom lost everything they owned to Hurricane Zeta. Others are coming to the social service network because the pandemic has left without money to pay bills.
“We have a lot of people who are experiencing homelessness for the first time, hunger for the first time,” Greco said. “It’s been a very hard year for a lot of people for a lot of different reasons, so we are seeing a lot of people feel desperate, and what a sad thing for the holidays for anybody to feel like that. So we rally here are trying to rally around them and figure out what the community needs and respond to that need for the masses because it really is a huge incline and increase that we’re seeing in that.”
They served more than 200 meals to families and individuals who were very grateful.
“I hope you all have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving,” said one of the recipients to the Hard Rock employees. “Thank y’all very much.”
While a single meal may not solve all their problems, it did provide temporary comfort.
Donna Segura of Biloxi stood in line with her husband and two grandchildren waiting for the boxed meals. She said both the pandemic and Hurricane Zeta have created financial challenges for them.
“It’s a blessing for me and my family ant for all the others too,” said Segura. “I know it’s a blessing for them.”