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Feed the Needy offers Coast seniors an option for Thanksgiving meals

Volunteers fill food boxes for Harrison County’s less fortunate during the Feed the Needy program at the Lyman Community Center on Thanksgiving Day in 2013.
Volunteers fill food boxes for Harrison County’s less fortunate during the Feed the Needy program at the Lyman Community Center on Thanksgiving Day in 2013. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com File

For many seniors, Thanksgiving can be a hectic time and a lonely day for those who do not have family and friends in the area.

Fortunately, the Gulf Coast Public Safety Feed the Needy is here to help the seniors who may not want to deal with the hassle of a Thanksgiving dinner.

Started by former Gulfport Mayor Ken Combs, Feed the Needy provides meals to those who desire them on Thanksgiving and Christmas days — the only two days of the year that Feed My Sheep, a Gulfport-based food pantry, closes its doors.

Now in its 27th year, the nonprofit group includes volunteers from Biloxi Police Department, Gulfport Police Department, Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, Long Beach Police Department, Pass Christian Police Department, D’Iberville Police Department and Gulfport Fire Department.

“We will probably deliver about 1,800-2,000 meals this year,” said Leonard Papania, Gulfport police chief. “These are for anyone that needs a meal on Thanksgiving, and we will deliver them to everyone who needs them delivered.”

The meal includes turkey and all of the trimmings including dressing, sweet potatoes and dessert.

“We will probably start cooking a couple of days before Thanksgiving,” Papania said.

Although Papania said the meals will gladly be delivered to anyone who requests them, they encourage people to come and get them if at all possible.

“We will be glad to bring them to those that request them to be delivered,” he said, “but if you can come and get them yourself, that will allow us to deliver them to more people.”

Meals can be picked up at the Lyman Community Center at 13742 U.S. 90.

Papania said people wishing to get a meal need to do so by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

To order a meal for Thanksgiving Day, call 228-868-5703.

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