In 1983, a small group of concerned Christians planted a seed of hope for hungry and needy persons in the Gulfport area when they came together and founded the Gulf Coast Christian Life Center, with Feed My Sheep as an outreach program. Feed My Sheep has been serving God’s hungry since 1984. We began serving approximately 20 homeless people hot meals out of a vacant Gulfport restaurant, later moved to a building owned by the Church of God, and then moved to the First Christian Church of Gulfport.
Feed My Sheep moved to the Gaston Hewes Recreation Center in 1992, thanks to a no-cost, 25-year lease from the City of Gulfport, which has always given our program great support. With a kitchen, a large dining area, and storage space for food, the recreation center was well-suited to fit our needs.
When President George H. W. Bush was speaking in Gulfport that same year, he spotted a Feed My Sheep truck and asked about it. Later, in an address to the nation, he named Feed My Sheep as one of America’s “1,000 Points of Light.” He described his “Points of Light” as “…the soul of America – ordinary people who reach beyond themselves to the lives of those in need, bringing hope and opportunity, friendship and care.”
In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina utterly destroyed the Gaston Hewes Recreation Center, and Feed My Sheep was forced to halt operations. Until the end of 2008, our program remained homeless.
Because the Salvation Army also lost its facilities to Katrina, Feed My Sheep provides the only hope of a meal for the hungry and needy in our community.
In January 2009, we opened a new, state-of-the-art facility at 2615 19th Street, immediately next to the railroad tracks and just one block from our old location. With 6,000 square feet, our new facility can serve up to 300 hot lunches per day and is capable of preparing an additional 250 meals for distribution to shut-ins.
In 2009, we served 96,064 meals in the dining room and to the homebound in our community. As the numbers continue to grow so does our need for support from the community.