MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The Executive Director of the Wesley House says the number of people the center serves on a monthly basis has nearly quadrupled in less than a year.
“January of 2017, we would serve 83 bags per month,” says Rev. David Schultz. “In January of 2018, it increased to 200 bags per month.”
David Schultz says that significant increase in requests for assistance has created a problem for them because their resources are limited.
“From April through July, we’ve been over 350 bags per month,” says Schultz.
Food isn’t the only need. There is also an increased call for assistance with utilities, prescriptions and housing needs. Since the start of 2017, the center has gone from serving 172 individuals per month to 470 clients per month. Assistance given to help those in need is up an additional $10,000 compared to this time last year.
Shultz credits the increase to its recent visibility. He says the impacts of the April tornado that ripped through Meridian has led to additional requests for help. Schultz is now asking for the public to donate to keep up with the growing demand.
He says, “We haven’t had any major companies coming out or we haven’t had any major catastrophes. Possibly the tornado had some effect.”
Schultz says the community can help out in a number of ways. The center needs non-perishable food items, cash and volunteers.
“Not all of our clients have kitchens, or a means to heat product up. So therefore they need food items that can be easy to prepare,” says Schultz.
The center is working with other agencies to share lists and prevent people from abusing or double dipping resources. And while requests continue to pour in, the reward of helping others is what keeps Wesley House thriving.
“Sometimes it’s not real glorious about what I’m doing back in this room,” says Schultz. “But that’s really what’s helping folks to be able to come and pick out some clothes that they need or to come and get the food product that they need or to come and do those things.”
For more information, you can call the Wesley House at 601-485-4736. You can also donate online at the center's website. It's located on 1520 8th Avenue.