A crowd gathered outside the Star Gospel Mission early Sunday evening was prepared to wait all night for $50 grocery store gift cards that would be distributed this morning.

The mission at 474 Meeting St. planned to give out 1,000 Piggly Wiggly gift cards starting at 7:30 a.m. Several dozen people were in line Sunday evening. By early morning, the line was expected to stretch around the block.

"It's worth it," said Natasha White, who arrived about 6:30 p.m. with a half-dozen family members. "After you spend all your money on Thanksgiving, you need it for Christmas."

It was already starting to get chilly at 7 p.m. Sunday. AccuWeather was predicting a low of 43 degrees for the night.

"I won't get cold," White said. "I'm wearing two shirts, two sweaters, two pair of pants."

Someone was playing Christmas music on a small radio. People were talking to one another while they waited.

Maxine Pinckney of North Charleston was sitting in a canvas folding chair clutching a wooden cane, with a fuzzy blanket beside her.

"You get to chitchat everybody," she said. "You get to know people."

A man who identified himself only as Mitch said he arrived at the mission at 3:30 p.m., and two people were already in line.

"Sure, I'm going to get frozen cold," he said. "But this will buy dinner for four nights."

The Post and Courier's Good Cheer Fund pays for the gift cards. Recipients must be over 18 years old and show a photo ID and Social Security card.

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.