Gulf Coast Community Ministries
Friday, July 21, 2017

Who We Are

 
Gulf Coast Community Ministries (GCCM) offers services to people who face difficult life circumstances. The Ministry helps families who are hungry; people who suffer with chronic illness; men and women who are homeless. GCCM provides south Mississippians with food, medical care, spiritual counseling, and clothing. Since 2007, GCCM has served more than 19,000 people.
 
The Ministry serves people of any age for food pantry, clothing, literacy and homeless services. Its free clinic, a member of the National Association of Free Clinics, serves uninsured people from 18 through 64 years of age. GCCM has two paid part-time staff and a seven-member volunteer board. The Ministry has an extensive volunteer workforce.  On average, 50 – 75 volunteers work each month. 
 
In the past seven years, we’ve grappled with lengthy restoration caused by Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. In 2008, coastal revitalization was impeded further by the national economic recession that continues to stall progress and worsens unemployment. Then in 2010, the Mississippi Coast was impacted by the Deepwater BP oil spill, the largest accidental marine oil spill in petroleum industry history.  The combined impacts of  natural and manmade catastrophes only widened the housing, nutritional and healthcare gaps for Gulfport’s citizens who rely on GCCM services. In 2012, GCCM provided food to 7,223 individuals, a monthly average of 602 men, women and children. In 2012, GCCM provided medical care to 648 uninsured citizens.   
 
Among the 50 states, Mississippi ranks #1 for food insecurity and percentage of residents living below the poverty line according to the Food Research and Action Center. Our State faces a healthcare crisis with the highest national rate of obesity and second highest rate of diabetes. Approximately 500,000 Mississippians lack health insurance or regular healthcare, tend to use emergency room care and lack medication coverage.
 
Remember Jesus’ teaching about “loving our neighbors as ourselves?” He used a story lesson about two men who happened to be traveling on the same road. One man was a Samaritan. The other man was a Jew who had been beaten, robbed and left for dead.  We’re told very little about the victim, if he had family, how much money he made or if he was a prominent community member.  We do know that the Samaritan didn’t ask any questions or consider if he’d ever be repaid. His compassion for someone who was a stranger to him stands strong today as Jesus’ object lesson about the greatest commandment in Luke 10:27.
 
GCCM reaches out in God’s name and by His great grace to people whose life circumstances are as destitute as the beaten, half-dead man.  They travel through this life as “our neighbors.”  Jesus may have had them in mind when He said, “Inasmuch as you do it unto the least of these, you have done it unto Me.”
 
GCCM began its journey in 2000 as a volunteer ministry of First Baptist Church, Gulfport. Now incorporated as an independent 501c3, the Ministry’s strong volunteer workforce, staff and board are dedicated to making a difference in our community.  The community’s needs are solemn reminders that our city and State face trying times.