This weekend was the last one before Christmas, and it was a big one for shoppers getting some of those last minute gifts taken care of. Over the weekend, some parking lots in D'Iberville were filled with more than just shoppers. For many, Christmas is a time of celebration and joy, but it’s also a time of reflection for those who have lost loved ones. Jeff Ulmer, the pastor at New Life Family Church in Biloxi, says, "This season causes a lot of people to realize what they have lost during the year. As they gather at family functions, there are empty seats and it's a reminder of what’s been lost." Ulmer has seen firsthand how people handle this sense of loss. Ulmer also says, "A lot of people deal with the ghost of Christmas past, and many times we attempt to bury those memories and that causes us to struggle more. We blame others for our problems or we beat ourselves up."
This is why the congregation of the church decided they would try to spread a little holiday cheer by giving away food and gift cards to holiday shoppers. Jeremy Ulmer, a student pastor, says, "We asked folks to be generous and they responded and in the last two years, we have given away during the Christmas shopping weekends over 4,000 dollars worth of gift cards." Officials at the church say even this small act of kindness can make a major impact in some ones day and holiday season. Jeremy also says, "They aren't random acts of kindness, they are strategic acts of kindness. We try to catch folks and interrupt what is already a busy season with an act of generosity." New Life Family Church says that although they don't offer licensed counseling, they will gladly talk to anyone seeking help.