Ministry’s Christmas giveaway serves more area children

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories highlighting the needs of local non-profits this Christmas season.

Approximately 400 area residents received food, gifts and bags of groceries Friday at the Brookhaven Outreach Ministries’ annual Christmas giveaway.

The Christmas giveaway is one of four yearly events Outreach Ministries hosts. The Rev. Jerry Durr, organization president and pastor at the Christian Fellowship Center, said 232 children are registered for this year’s giveaway, which is the most since the first event in 1991.

Durr, 62, and his wife started the not-for-profit organization in 1991 to serve area residents in need.

Lincoln County Chancery Clerk Tillmon Bishop is an Outreach Ministries’ board member and a long-time volunteer at the organization.

“There are a lot of people in our area in need of food and clothing,” Bishop said. “Outreach has been one of the most consistent providers in southern Mississippi for the basic needs of life for those people.”

Brookhaven Outreach Ministries offers various services for area residents. Every Thursday, Durr said, the organization hands out free bags of groceries to area residents in need.

Outreach Ministries, located at 101 East Court St., has a food pantry for community members and a food bank, which supplies other local food pantries. The organization also houses a thrift store, offers supplements to disabled residents for their electricity bills and a fitness center for senior citizens with chronic illnesses, Durr said.

Volunteers hand out groceries, grocery store vouchers for turkey or chicken and toys at the Christmas giveaway. Local families that attended had to fill out eligibility forms to qualify for this charity event.

“We try to make a large impact,” Durr said. “We try to meet the need of individuals so no one goes without food or is hungry.”

Donations and financial support from community members, businesses and the local United Way support Outreach Ministries. However, the organization is still in need of support.

The last three months of the year are Outreach Ministries busiest, and during the Christmas season there is a notable increase in demand from those in need, Durr said.

Volunteers are a crucial component at Outreach Ministries, particularly during the holiday months. At this year’s Thanksgiving giveaway, Durr said there were approximately 90 volunteers. Outreach interviews individuals interested in volunteering and sets up a work schedule. For more information about volunteering, call Outreach Ministries at 601-833-1350.

Outreach Ministries also accepts various donations from individuals looking to support the organization.

Durr said financial donations are particularly impactful this time of year. The organization also accepts donations of furniture, clothing, toys or canned goods for distribution. To inquire about donations contact the organization at 601-833-1350 or visit its website,