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Brookhaven ministry reaching out to community

Rev. Jerry Durr aims to be an outreach for the community he calls home.

For nearly 30 years, Brookhaven Outreach Ministries has sought to meet the needs of the people in the community in the Christian spirit. Through its weekly offering of free groceries and annual giveaways in October, November and December, the organization has touched thousands of lives to help ease burdens many people experience every day.

Last week, the ministry helped 110 families through its Operation Blessing project.

Durr will start Tuesday accepting applications for the Thanksgiving distribution that will be held just before the holiday. Families will receive Thanksgiving-themed groceries and household goods. Faith Presbyterian Church provides 100 vouchers for turkeys from Piggly Wiggly.

The Christmas distribution includes the same items along with some toys for the children.

“And some other special items we’ll give for people who have fallen through the cracks and haven’t gotten on a Christmas list,” Durr said.

Families can only qualify for one distribution every 60 days. That means that if someone wants to participate in the Thanksgiving giveaway they can’t participate in the one for Christmas. And if a family received help in Operation Blessing they can’t qualify for the Thanksgiving giveaway.

The food pantry makes groceries available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays starting at 6 p.m. Families can only qualify to participate in the food pantry every 60 days as well. Those who partake of the Thanksgiving and Christmas giveaways can’t receive food from the pantry those months, he said.

That way they can help the most people, Durr said.

“We’re set up for the poor and needy in our community to meet those needs. We don’t want anyone to go without,” he said. “We’re trying to minister to the needs of the community.”

The ministry moved to 210 Court St. earlier this year. Because of space limitations, Durr can no longer accept used clothing and furniture. He said people used their location at North Railroad and Court streets as a drop-off for items that couldn’t be salvaged. He said he spent $500 to $800 a month to have the items hauled off the property.

“We can’t survive like that,” he said.

However, Durr is asking for donations of new space heaters and blankets that they can give to senior citizens living in homes without central heat.

They’ll accept donations of canned staple foods for the pantry, too.

Cash is always welcome.

“We can always use monetary donations,” Durr said. “It’s not coming in like it used to.”

Durr uses the cash to help senior citizens and disabled individuals with electric bills.

Durr opens the chapel for church services on Sundays at 11:30 a.m. Prayer services are held Tuesday and Thursday from 9-9:30 a.m.

The thrift store behind the building is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. New items are sold for half price or more, he said. The money earned helps to fund the ministry.

Community support has declined, he said.

“It’s been pretty tough this last year, but we’re thankful for the support we’ve been given,” he said.

Donations can be made to Brookhaven Outreach Ministry, P.O. Box 1158, Brookhaven, MS 39602.

Outreach Ministries can be reached at 601-833-1350.