Picayune Ministry supplies food to needy
The holidays are quickly approaching and for some families let alone Thanksgiving meal, a daily meal, may be hard to come by.
Families can find themselves in emergency situations including sudden unemployment, death of a family member, residential fires, disabled or dealing with a decrease in wages.
It is during these times families need a helping hand from members of their community and groups like Picayune’s Christian Care Ministries.
The ministry was created in 1988 by a group of like-minded multi-denominational pastors who were members of the Picayune Ministerial Association.
According to Christian Care manager Janet Teague, ministers began meeting to discuss church activities. The topic of needy families arose and the group decided to create a central location for churches to contribute and for the needy to seek help.
“We serve as a clearing house so people won’t have to travel from church to church,” Teague said. “We figure out the best way to help and recommend available agencies.”
Each client is interviewed, during which his or her eligibility for assistance is determined.
Christian Care offers assistance in a variety of ways including purchasing approved medications and clothing or by providing gas vouchers to drive to medical appointments.
When grant funding is available, Teague said, the group will provide support for utility bills and possibly rent.
Christian Care is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit and operates with the helping hands of about 50 volunteers, Teague said.
The ministry operates a volunteer managed home-delivered meal program for seniors and disabled individuals in the Picayune area who are homebound.
“The hospital prepares the food based on the participant’s diet,” Teague said. “The hospital charges $3.90 for each meal and for those on a fixed income, we will find the funds to underwrite the costs.”
Christian Care Ministries’ largest outreach program is their food bank.
“Our food bank is offered to those experiencing emergency situations,” Teague said. “We supplement a family’s food supply.”
Clients receive a pre-packed bag according to family size.
Each bag is filled with canned foods from the four basic food groups including vegetables, fruit, soups and meat.
Once a month, the USDA sends a food shipment to the facility, Teague said. Because of the USDA’s involvement, there are requirements each client must fulfill including presenting a photo ID, proof of address, income level and monthly expenses.
When available at Twelve Baskets, a Gulfport distribution center, the food bank stocks dry beans, peanut butter and jelly, rice, spaghetti sauces and frozen meat, Teague said.
Twelve Baskets has an agreement with several large food vendors thereby making it possible for Christian Care Ministries to purchase dented food cans and boxes for ten cents a pound, she said.
On average, the food bank serves about 20 families a day.
To date, Christian Care Ministries has served more than 1,700 households totaling about 4,000 individuals.
Teague began her work at Christian Care in 1999 after a 25-year career as a reference librarian at the Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library.
“My favorite part is having the ability to offer hope to those in need,” Teague said. “The clients appreciate what you do and you know that you have made a difference.”
Christian Care Ministries is located at 321 Williams Ave. in Picayune.
The food bank is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to noon.
The office is open until 1 p.m. and can be reached by calling 601-799-3593.
Teague encourages local groups to hold food drives. Food donations are accepted at the facility and monetary donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 642, Picayune, MS., 39466.