Mississippi Power volunteers from several Community Connection chapters recently provided assistance to local homeless citizens at the ninth annual Project Homeless Connect event at the Donal M. Snyder Community Center in Biloxi.
The event serves as an all-in-one opportunity for the homeless to receive free services from more than 40 area vendors. Many attendees took advantage of free clothes, shoes, hearing tests, flu shots, dental and eye exams, haircuts and blood pressure checks.
Pets of the homeless were also examined and vaccinated, while Coast Transit Authority provided free bus rides to and from the event.
Company volunteers took part in the event by serving attendees breakfast biscuits and handing out backpacks filled with personal hygiene items.
“Volunteering for this event can be a life-changing experience,” said Mississippi Power’s Michelle Gray. “When you see the hundreds of people who show up for this event, you realize how important it is to give back to those in need of life’s basic necessities. Partnering at this event helps our communities thrive and be more successful. It can even help some find their pathway to potential employment.”
One of those in need is Jeff (last name withheld), a Biloxi resident who fell on hard times when he lost the lease on his apartment after failing to find work as a builder.
“Both of my hands are injured, and I can’t grip anything properly,” Jeff said as he barely held on to his complimentary cup of coffee provided by the Salvation Army. “I’ve applied for disability, and I am able to use food stamps, but right now I live in a large culvert pipe with some others. When it rains, we have to get out of there quickly because the water backs up.”
Jeff added that Project Homeless Connect is a blessing to him as well as other members of the homeless community.
“This is perfect,” he said. “Everything I’ll get here should last me about a week. I’ll also share some of it with some of the others at our camp. When your homeless, anything is better than nothing.”
Open Doors Homeless Coalition began putting the project together after the need grew for a central location where those enduring homelessness could gather and receive assistance.
“This event not only helps the needy but also brings awareness to the face of homelessness,” said Mary Simons, Open Doors Homeless Coalition executive director. “Our ultimate goal is to end homelessness on the Coast, but in the meantime, we’re engaging the community and providing solutions in a very powerful event. We’re thankful to Mississippi Power and all of our community partners for their volunteer efforts to make this event a success.”
Mississippi Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company (NYSE: SO), produces safe, reliable and environmentally responsible energy for nearly 187,000 customers in 23 southeast Mississippi counties. Mississippi Power ranked first in the Southeastern Electric Exchange’s 2016 Safety Performance Reports and is consistently recognized as an industry leader in reliability, customer service and safety. Visit our websites at www.mississippipower.com and www.mississippipowernews.com, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.