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Pascagoula church hosts county-wide food drive

Today's event was made possible by funding from Hancock Whitney and Feeding The Gulf Coast. Leftover items from today will be donated to a Jackson County food p
Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 6:40 PM CST
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PASCAGOULA, Miss. (WLOX) - Vehicles lined Dupont Avenue in Pascagoula Tuesday as drivers waited their turn to receive free meals outside of Union Baptist Church.

The church partnered with a Gulfport 501 (c)(3) called Extend a Hand Help a Friend to host a drive-through food drive for those in need.

“During the pandemic in which we live in now, a lot of people is financially strapped through economic challenges,” co-organizer Jeffrey Hulum III said. “We just want to make sure that everybody have what they need.”

Community members across Jackson County showed up in high numbers.

“It warms my heart to know that we can extend our skillset to the people of Jackson County to make sure no one is left without,” Hulum told WLOX.

One after another, each driver made it through the line with at least one box of breakfast, lunch and dinner: from cereal to steak, fresh produce and assorted desserts.

“Food insecurity is a real issue that a lot of people don’t realize because they have food on the table, but it is a real issue,” pastor Larry Hawkins Sr. said.

Hawkins has led the church for more than three decades, with a purpose.

“It is an extension of our mission to make sure that we minister to the total man, not just to the spiritual man but also the physical man,” he said.

Organizers say one box is filled with enough items to comfortably feed a family of four.

Their goal of the day was to reach at least 225 families.

“Anytime you get a blessing it comes from God, from the Lord,” driver Joseph Fountain from Moss Point said.

“I think it’s good because it helps a lot of people,” driver Glenda Johnson said. “I just appreciate the church that they doing this.”

It was a community effort as several volunteers began working at 7 a.m.

“Some people don’t have, and some do have. Those that don’t have, we’re extending our hands out to everybody we can,” volunteer Karen Lett said.

The event was made possible by funding from Hancock Whitney and Feeding Gulf Coast.

Any leftover items will be donated to a Jackson County food pantry.

“Whenever you can give back, especially in these times, it makes you feel good. It makes everybody else feel good, you know,” volunteer S.B. Hawkins said. “And it’s just good for everybody.”

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