BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Inside a modest building in the heart of east Biloxi, you'll find a self-described servant to the community. Judy Cottrell uses her strong faith to pour into the lives of those who come through the doors of Seashore Mission.
"The grace of God has to play into everything I do. Everything we do here," said Judy.
She's been hard at work with the mission for nearly a decade, and a lot can be credited to her for the mission's home on Division Street.
"We just thank God that we have a place. That's what gets me here. That's what brings me here today. I can't wait to get here every morning and start preparing the meals, talking and sharing with those, seeing what their needs are for the day," said Judy.
She sees to hundreds of meals every day for those in need, but it's not just meals that her day shelter offers.
"Toiletries, tarps, sleeping bags, backpacks, deodorant, bug spray. And the community provides those things," she said.
Judy's mission isn't just about helping people living on the streets, it's about getting them off the streets. And while the mission has several success stories, there's one, in particular, that's had a huge impact on Judy's life.
When Tim Cottrell first came to Seashore Mission several years ago, he was homeless after losing his job.
"Just like a lot of these individuals that come here today, had lost everything. Good people, just at a bad time in their life," said Tim.
Things started to turn around for Tim.
"After about a year, I had become a full-time volunteer and was still homeless," he said. Then, Tim found housing, a job, and someone to spend his life with.
Tim and Judy recently got married, and now in what he calls a work of God Tim finds himself serving the community that he used to be a part of.
"Sometimes we have to remember we have to lose to gain because when you're on the other side of the serving line, and you know these individuals that come in day in and day out and you know their name," said Tim. "They're coming here and they're getting a warm meal, and they're getting a shower, and they're getting support, and they're seeing that people do care about them. That's what Seashore Mission is truly about."
And together, he and Judy now work to help those who need it the most.