The Mississippi Gulf Coast Area Command Distributes Food to Seniors

The Salvation Army of the MS Gulf Coast is serving meals throughout the community as well as preparing food packages for local seniors.

Majors Anita and Bradley Caldwell, Salvation Army Area Commanders, took surveys earlier this week—checking with families throughout the community to get an estimate of how much food they had at home.

“We began Sunday as a trial to see what the turnout would be and if we could properly practice social distancing while distributing food. It went well. Most families only had an average of three to five days worth of food at home,” said Major Bradley Caldwell.

The Army has been able to serve over 100 meals a day to the Gulf Coast community and is delivering meals to senior individuals who aren’t able to procure food from the Kroc Center as they normally would. Social distancing is being taken into account during food deliveries, with staff knocking on the door, leaving meals in a visible place, and moving away from the door to wait and ensure that individuals receive their meal.

“Two women stopped by and took 30 grocery packages back to their senior residents. They were very thankful, and it was a blessing that they were aware of their resident’s needs,” stated Major Anita Caldwell.

“One resident even told one of the women that the hotdogs she received in her grocery package were the best hot dogs she’s had in a long time,” Major Anita Caldwell added.

Pascagoula, Lucedale, and Gulfport Salvation Army locations are providing food packages by appointment, and the Biloxi Kroc Center is providing prepared meals. Though the Army is currently focusing on seniors within the community, officers suspect other demographics will need help as the effects of COVID-19 are more prevalent in their area.

“We know several people who have said they have one more week of pay. When that money is gone, they won’t have resources to provide food for themselves. When that time comes, we’re not sure how we’ll be called upon to make a difference,” stated Major Bradley Caldwell. “We’re working to do what we can as we’re being asked to help by local government officials. We’re limiting our focus to seniors in the neighborhood for now because we don’t know what responsibilities we may have to take on in the coming days,” he added.

To help The Salvation Army continue to serve those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, make your secure online donation today.

Officer provides care to one of his own employees following Nate

Biloxi, MS – Like the entire Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi Division of The Salvation Army, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Command’s, Major Gary Sturdivant watched and prayed as Hurricane Nate made landfall right in the middle of his service area. His prayers were answered as Nate brought wind, rain, and storm surge up and down the Gulf Coast, but the damage and flooding was minimal.

“I got out early this morning riding around to see if there was a need for The Salvation Army to help,” said Major Sturdivant. “I just wanted to let people know we are here if they need us.”

Major Sturdivant didn’t realize it would be one of his own employees who he would minister to. Brenda Parrott is the custodian at Ray and Joan Kroc Community Center in Biloxi. While Parrott and her husband left their home for a safer location, a tree fell on their electrical meter box causing a fire.

“We were able to pray together with the family…I said, ‘We may not have answers right now but we know our Good Lord does,’” said Major Sturdivant.

Come to find out Parrott and her family lost everything in Hurricane Katrina. She remembers crawling in the attic then into trees to escape the rising waters.

Parrott told Major Sturdivant, “The Lord provided for us like a life jacket that day.”

The Parrotts’ home, built by her brother in law after Katrina, is not a complete loss.

“Ms. Brenda is a wonderful employee, in fact, if you ask her how she’s doing at work, she always responds the same way, ‘I am blessed and highly favored,’” said Major Sturdivant.

So even with Nate rapidly leaving the Division and becoming less and less a threat, there are those who still need the help of The Salvation Army.

“Emotional and Spiritual Care is one of the best things Our Salvation Army is able to give during times of disaster,” said Major Sturdivant.