LUCEDALE, Miss. (WKRG) – 150 families in George County will have a full Thanksgiving thanks to the quick work of a Lucedale nonprofit.

Logistical issues canceled a planned Feeding the Gulf Coast food distribution event on Tuesday, Nov. 22. In less than 24 hours, Immaculate Heart Community Development Corporation stepped in to unload the food bank’s delivery at 7:30 a.m.

“Feeding the Gulf Coast asked me yesterday if we could get out 100 to 150 meals,” said volunteer Jeff Terrace. “I talked to Janice [the food pantry director]. She said she’d have 12 to 15 volunteers out here and they showed up bright and early and we started packing from there. It was a blessing.”

A line of cars drove past Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church on Wednesday to receive food packs with ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, mac and cheese, cornbread and produce.

Volunteers also delivered meals to about 30 homebound residents throughout the county.

As the price of groceries remains inflated, nonprofits have seen an increase in the number of families that have needed assistance this year.

With partners like Immaculate Heart, Feeding the Gulf Coast distributed nearly 200,000 lbs. of food to more than 7,000 families in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi the past two weeks.

“Thanksgiving is a time for gathering together in celebration and gratitude, but that is not possible for so many right here in our community who face the challenges and uncertainty of food insecurity,” said Michael Ledger, President and CEO of Feeding the Gulf Coast. “We are grateful for the opportunity to provide a hearty, traditional holiday meal this Thanksgiving for those who need it most.”

The Lucedale ministry has been operating in some capacity since 1994. It stepped up earlier this summer to serve meals to county students after the school district canceled its feeding program.

They served senior meals from the Benndale Volunteer Fire Department for 10 years and built six new homes after Hurricane Katrina. They’re supported entirely by grants and donations and led by a mostly volunteer board.

“The caring and sharing is something the church is big about,” said Terrace. “The leaders are looking at starting other programs for the youth and elderly also and building a food pantry. It’s something we’d like to continue doing for the George County area.”

A food pantry currently operates from Morning Star on the last Tuesday of the month at 10 a.m. with household supplies also available with donations from Walmart.

Anyone in need of assistance or interested in supporting the community development corporation can call 601-900-7546 or email immaculateheartcdc@gmail.com.

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