'We care for one another'

Saint Andrews outreach program provides meals, showers to people in need

The Destin Log

St. Andrews By-the–Sea Episcopal Church is on the mission to better the lives of the homeless and the needy through their Blue Door Ministry.

The outreach program provides hot showers, food, clothing, bikes and even a mailing address to Destin residents who are on the streets or in need.

“It all began in 2000, when we decided to give out lunch bags,” said Kathy McGee, the ministry’s coordinator. “Three years ago we decided to form Blue Door Ministry.”

The ministry’s doors are open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Hot lunches are served on Mondays and Thursdays. The food pantry is open on Wednesdays and bagged lunches are distributed as well.

“We have an Okaloosa County tracking system and have them registered.” McGee said. “They have to be Destin residents and have some form of ID to get in the system.”

Once signed in, people can take showers and get clean clothes. Shampoo, soap, towels and everyday essentials are provided. Individuals can also use the church’s mailing address for mail drops offs.

“A lot are not in a residence and need somewhere they can pick up their mail. We also have a safe to keep their important documents safe,” McGee said.

On Thursdays, the ministry hands out food provided by the Destin Harvest to anyone who walks into the church looking for food, not just Destin residents.

“There’s always something to eat for people who come in,” she said. “We shouldn’t let people be needful if you can help them.”

Jamie McCly, who regularly visits the church, said he really appreciates all of the help the church is giving him.

“For most people who come here, it’s a time they can feel like they are part of a home,” he said.

McCly, who suffers from heart conditions, said he really relies on bus passes to get around the city.

“They even do kind things, like giving me a guitar. … It’s also nice to get a wardrobe,” he said.

Jarod Hines, who visits every time the ministry is open, said he really appreciates getting clothes, a bike from the bike shop and the hot showers.

“We don’t have the means of washing our clothes,” Hines said. “A nice shower is always nice, especially during hot weather.

“We can also check on other homeless people. … We care for one another,” he added.