Salvation Army unveils the ‘Help Card’

Next time you’re approached by a panhandler seeking money for food, a bus ticket or even a beer, the Salvation Army has a suggestion: Make it a thoughtful gift, a help card.

Salvation Army leaders announced the new program during a media gathering this morning at the Biloxi Visitors Center.

The Army, not unlike many local social-service organizations, offers an array of services for the needy, but leaders worry that giving money to a panhandler should not always be the first option.

“We’re certainly a caring community and we should be,” said Salvation Army Maj. Anita Caldwell, “but research has shown that some panhandlers have a car and a home, and panhandling is their career. Some have addictions to drugs, alcohol or gambling. And some are genuinely in need of help.

“We’re asking people to take these things into account and think about giving a Help Card, which lists places where anyone can get a free meal or other assistance.”

The Army is distributing the cards at businesses along the Coast so that residents or visitors can have them handy when approached for money. They also are available at the Kroc Center, Biloxi Visitors Center or Biloxi City Hall.

The small yellow cards – the size of a business card – list locations for free meals and assistance:

The Lord is My Help, 1205 Desoto St., Ocean Springs. Meals: weekdays 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Seashore Mission, 856 Division St., Biloxi. Meals: Sunday 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday and Thursday, 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Our Lady of Fatima St. Vincent de Paul, 314 Jim Money Road, Biloxi. Homeless assistance: Monday and Tuesday, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Loaves & Fishes, 610 Water St., Biloxi. Meals: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 7:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

The Salvation Army, 2019 22nd St., Gulfport. Shower, laundry and snack packs: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Video: See the press conference

Renaissance Garden group seeks volunteers

The Renaissance Garden Foundation is asking for volunteers or interested groups to help achieve the vision of a botanical garden in Hiller Park, one of the city’s most popular and spacious parks.

The garden, which is on the eastern side of the 99-acre city park, would be for the propagation and cultivation of specimens of plants, flowers, and fruit and forest trees. And, says spokesperson Martha Boyce, the garden would be for the promotion of science and knowledge.

Boyce, who has worked toward establishing the garden for years, says the site would be managed and maintained by members of the Renaissance Garden Foundation with the assistance of the City’s Parks and Recreational Department.

Those interested can learn about volunteering with the Renaissance Garden Foundation by contacting the foundation’s Executive Director Mrs. Martha Boyce at 228-365-9293.

The Renaissance Garden came to life in 2006, in the dreary days of the early recovery from Hurricane Katrina. However, the effort has recently sought an infusion of new volunteers with an interest in gardening. 
See a diagram of the future infrastructure

News & notes: Weekly report, city council, traffic

The week that was: Last week, the Fire Department answered 157 calls for service, including 95 medical emergencies and five fires; the Police Department handled 1,970 calls for service; the Community Development Department issued 94 building permits with a construction valuation of more than $2 million; and the Engineering Department continued to progress on projects throughout the city.  To see the reports covering last week, click here. 

Council meeting: Biloxi City Council will holds its first meeting of April at Biloxi City Hall on Tuesday at 6 p.m. To see the agenda, click here.

Traffic: To see the latest road closures, as well as other traffic advisories, click here.