Operation Blessing set for Saturday

Published 5:00 am Friday, October 30, 2009

As the Christmas season approaches, local charities are kickinginto high gear.

Brookhaven Outreach Ministries is no exception as they preparefor Saturday’s Operation Blessing.

The annual event takes place the last Saturday in October and ithelps supply the needy with things they’ll need to get them throughthe winter. Families have already gone through a screening process,and the Rev. Jerry Durr said about 175 families will pick upblankets and winter coats, canned goods and information on wrappingpipes for the winter time.

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This year, Durr said, the outreach is also providing thefamilies with prescription cards that will help them with theirmedical needs through the winter.

The economy has sent a boost in the needy this year, Durr said,and business is way up at the ministries center and the SouthCentral Mississippi Food Bank.

“We are serving so many people you wouldn’t believe it,” hesaid. “We’ve got individuals out of jobs, and so many people comingby. Our level of assistance to the community has increased so muchthis year.”

But the economy has affected the ministries, too, Durr said. Inspite of their pressing needs, it has kept plugging along, puttingfaith in the Lord to provide for them as they provide forothers.

“God will provide seed to the soil, so we sew into the people’slives that are having a hard time,” he said. “But with so manypeople coming and needing assistance, the economy has taken a tollon us financially. We really need help too. Anyone who wants tocontribute to the ministry, we really need it.”

With Christmas coming up, this is the most active time of theseason, and there are still needs to be met, Durr said. Members ofthe community can help out in ways they might not even thinkof.

“We could use blankets, we always need blankets,” Durr said.”People are really in need of those at this time of year. And wecan take even just the kind of blankets you pick up atWal-Mart.”

The blankets can be brought for Saturday’s Operation Blessing,or even after that, as can coats, canned goods and other donations.Even manpower is always a help, Durr said.

“We have volunteers scheduled from various churches on Saturday,but we always could use volunteer help,” he said.

Durr said the program starts with a workshop Saturday from 9a.m. to noon at the Outreach Ministries’ distribution center at 101E. Court St. Workshop attendees will need to present their ticketswhen picking up their items on Saturday, Durr said.

“We’ll take them through a short program of the gospel, becausewe want to not only feed them naturally, but spiritually,” hesaid.

Brookhaven Outreach Ministries has sponsored and organizedOperation Blessing for around 28 years as one of their manyoutreach programs to address group and community needs, rather thanfocusing on individuals. Future events include their annualThanksgiving and Christmas giveaway programs.

The ministry also offers a variety of daily individual servicesfrom medical care to providing food and clothing to the lessfortunate.

Those who need more information about the Outreach Ministries,Operation Blessing or donating supplies can call Durr at601-833-1350.