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Ministry meeting physical, spiritual needs

The Rev. Jerry Durr looks at the calling of the BrookhavenOutreach Ministries as a comfort and service not only to needystomachs, but to hungry souls as well.

“What I do is I just stay connected to the word, that’s where Iget my nourishment,” he said. “Once I do that I can feed otherpeople with that same nourishment that God had given me, becauseGod instructs us to feed the hungry – not just naturally, butspiritually as well.”

Durr said the outreach has had its food bank in place since 1988locally, and the South Central Mississippi Food Bank has been opensince 1999. Last year, the needy in Lincoln County received 50,306pounds of food, valued around $63,425.

While the numbers are not in for 2008, Durr said it has been anextremely busy year.

“We no doubt have given more food out this year than last year,”he said. “No doubt it’s the economy, we’ve had so many peoplecoming by the ministry needing assistance with food and otherthings. We’ve been helping with that, and doing referrals forpeople to services that pay light bills and other non-profits inthe area.”

This year saw a lot of holiday traffic coming up toThanksgiving, Durr said, with about 80 families coming through inthe last two days the pantry was open before the holiday.

“This is our really busy season,” he said, adding that OperationBlessing, another service Outreach Ministries does to help peoplewith blankets and coats, also had about 150 families this year.

And what keeps the ministry afloat is the fact that there arepeople who care about the people of their community, Durr said.

While Brookhaven may seem to be a Homeseeker’s Paradise, thereare a lot of people who are in desperate need. Some of them, hesaid, are unexpected.

“It’s just the really extreme poverty areas, but there are someareas where you wouldn’t think there’s hardship,” he said. “They’rehaving a tragedy or the loss of a loved one that really was thebreadwinner, and we’re in an economic crisis now. We’re seeing itfrom all scales because they come to us and they’re sharing thosethings with us, and we’re doing all we can to meet the needs.”

Another part of what Durr said his ministry tries to impart tothose they care for is faith. Durr said he tries to let people knowthat while things may be dark at the moment, the future bringshope.

“This is one thing we must realize – God will supply all ourneeds, and as Christians we have to open our hands wide when we seethe needs of the poor,” he said.

The drive held annually by the Bank of Brookhaven and The DAILYLEADER is a blessing to the ministry, Durr said, especially at thistime of year.

“This food drive tremendously helps us,” he said.

Anyone who wishes to help the Brookhaven Outreach Ministries’food pantry can make monetary donations to The DAILY LEADER/Bank ofBrookhaven Holiday Food Pantry drive. Funds will be distributedequally to three Brookhaven food pantries.