Camping for Hope helps prepare South Mississippi’s homeless for colder weather

A special effort called "Camping for Hope" is hoping to help the homeless of the Coast prepare for the cold and wet Mississippi winter.
Published: Dec. 4, 2021 at 1:41 PM CST
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A group of faith-based volunteers woke up Saturday morning on a plot of land near the intersection of Highway 90 and 15th Street in Gulfport. The group wanted to sleep out in order to better prepare for the flood of workers Saturday morning before sunrise for the 9th annual Camping for Hope.

“People show up in droves, ready to help in any way that they can,” Gulf Coast Community Ministries Boardmember James Bates said.

The crowd of volunteers came to sort out donations for the cause. The goal was to make sure about 150 homeless people in the area had everything they need to weather cold temperatures.

“We’ll provide them with everything from tents to sleeping bags to jackets to tarps, everything they need to get through the cold, winter months,” Executive Director Michael Wilson said. “Nobody is looking for any glory from this. The only glory we are looking for is to glorify Christ and to meet needs on His behalf and to make him famous on the Gulf Coast.”

Organizers said this year’s Camping for Hope was even more important to the community. They said the demand for necessities has increased over the past six to eight months.

“The homeless population definitely still has these needs and we are just grateful for this community for helping us to meet them,” Wilson said.

Volunteers said the event brought joy not only to the needy but those who came to work after the group canceled last year’s event due to COVID-19.

“Just to see how Camping for Hope has grown over the years, the number of people that have come out to support it, the items that are here, the people who have come to receive - it’s grown in such a tremendous way,” Bates said. “We just want every homeless individual who comes to the event to know that they are loved, that Christ loves them, that their community loves them.”

If you have any clothes, supplies or cold-weather items that you want to donate, contact Gulf Coast Community Ministries.

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