A Challenge to End Hunger

Feeding the Gulf Coast, formerly known as Bay Area Food Bank, will be hosting their first Mississippi Chef Challenge on Thursday, September 21, 2017 at the Biloxi Civic Center in Biloxi, MS from 6-9 p.m.

About a year ago, the organization changed its name to better suit its growth of helping to end hunger across 24 counties along the Gulf Coast. 

Their website explains that the event is held during September to raise awareness for Hunger Action Month- a nationwide hunger-relief campaign set forth by their corporate affiliate, Feeding America. 

The chef challenge will feature 11 chefs from local casinos and restaurants to prepare a dish in one of the four categories: appetizer, entree, soup and dessert. The guests will sample the dishes and vote on their favorite chef in each category along with an overall “People’s Choice” category. In addition, they will also have qualified judges select a “Judge’s Choice” winner. Complimentary beer and wine will be served, so guests must be 21 & over. 

There will also be a silent auction, live entertainment, a photo booth and lots more. 

“We are really embracing the opportunity for community engagement and organization awareness. We want to be able to share our mission, tell guests who we are and the work we do within the extended counties”, says Haley Buchanan of Feeding the Gulf Coast. 

Tickets can be purchased at the door for $75 per person. 

“This event will allow us to continue efforts with our programs such as Backpack Program and our partner food pantries-ultimately leading to bring in more food to the people on the Gulf Coast”, says Buchanan. 

For more information on Feeding the Gulf Coast and The Chef Challenge visit, feedingthegulfcoast.org.

 

 

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Moss Point Church Aims to Create Healthier Community

It’s no surprise that the people of Mississippi face issues with obesity and their health. In fact, Mississippi has the second highest adult obesity rate in the nation, according to The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America released August 2017.

But one church in Moss Point is hoping to change that and get the people of Jackson County to make better choices for their health and spirituality. 

Ebenezer Seventh-day Adventist Church has created a 13 week program, in coordination with Health Ministries, to hold a series of seminars focused on a variety of topics to help the people of Jackson County achieve their best physical and mental state. 

The program started on Sunday, September 17 and is available to the community free of charge.

“We want to share with residents the importance of making healthy decisions. And by educating and giving out the correct information will lead to people thinking critically about the choices they make”, says Pastor David Jones. 

The church plans to feature classes for a variety of topics concerning health and being properly informed about it. The schedule for these classes are as follows:

Monday’s: Cooking classes at 5:30

Wednesday’s: Covering subjects, such as friendship and cancer

Friday’s: Discussing topics, such as obesity and healthy exercising

For Pastor Jones, working together will help the more than 100 people in the program spread the word of healthy living to the rest of the community.

“Here in Moss Point, we’re a family, a community, and we are here to help one another and to educate people where they can live longer,” Jones said.

For more information on how to attend programs at the church, you can call 228-460-5355 or visit their website at ebenezer36.adventistchurchconnect.org.

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St. John’s Features Little Free Library

St. John’s Episcopal Church recently unveiled a Little Free Library on the church campus. 

Lydia Cheney released the standing box library that was designed and constructed by her father, Dr. Ben Cheney of Biloxi Internal Medicine Clinic. 

The Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world.

According to their website, through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.

The concept behind the library is for people to “take a book, return a book.” 

There are more than 50,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in the United States and in over 70 countries around the world. 

The church is located on the corner of Rayburn and Porter in Ocean Springs. 

For more information on The Little Free Library and its mission, visit littlefreelibrary.org.

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Pascagoula Doctor’s Inspiring Story Featured on ABC’s ’20/20′

Last week, an ABC News “20/20” film crew arrived at Singing River Hospital to interview Dr. Tyler Sexton, a staff pediatrician who overcame the odds and became a doctor, despite his battle with disabling cerebral palsy. 

ABC is using his inspirational story to help promote a series of their own, “The Good Doctor”, which is set to debut on Sept. 25 at 9:00 p.m. 

“The Good Doctor” is about a young surgeon with autism and Savant syndrome and his struggles to overcome his disabilities, while excelling at his job in the pediatric surgical unit. 

ABC will use the short segment on Pascagoula’s Dr. Sexton, and profiles on other doctors who have overcome incredible odds, as companion pieces to the new show, Singing River spokeswoman Georgia Storey said.

Dr. Sexton has had real-life struggles himself before achieving his goal of becoming a pediatrician. 

Sexton was born 28 weeks premature. As a result, his lungs had collapsed. The lack of oxygen to his brain affected the lower portion of his body. After falling 4-6 times a day and undergoing 16 surgeries, the doctors prepared Sexton’s parents of the possibility of him not making it. “They said if I did survive I would be blind, physically/mentally disabled and would not be able to walk. But thank God they were wrong!”, says Sexton. 

At 18 months, Sexton was not able to sit up by himself. His parents took him to to the doctor for an MRI and the results came back with a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. 

We all have handicaps 

Sexton’s dream of becoming a pediatrician was fueled by wanting to give hope to patients instead of worst-case scenarios. He’s a rare pediatrician who specializes in wound and burn care on the Mississippi Coast. 

Sexton wears Marvel superhero t-shirts to connect with his kids and show them we’re all superheroes. “Everyone is handicapped. We all struggle with something and these kids are no different.”, says Sexton. Dr. Sexton understands these kids and what they’ve been through. “I understand how they feel. I was there where they were. I can identify with them to let them know it’s okay to laugh and cry; it’s okay to be vulnerable. It gives me a touch across the board for kids and their parents”, says Sexton. 

A superhero himself 

Dr. Sexton is a super hero on his own, overcoming the prejudice of institutions of medical education in the United States. 

He has always been intellectually sharp, but the prejudices behind his disability gave his advisor and other students reasons to try and hold him back. 

“When I tried to go out and interview for medical schools, I applied a dozen different institutions and was rejected by all of them on the basis of my disability. They told me I’ll never become a doctor and people won’t come to me because of my cerebral palsy”, says Sexton. 

He was rejected at several medical schools and thrown out of rotations with medical students, because he had a service dog. But the law was on his side, and he succeeded.

Working through with the kids and adults spurred him to write his book, “God Bless These Little Legs”, which is how an ABC producer discovered Sexton and his story. 

“My disability gives me credibility. Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it,” he said. “Without cerebral palsy I wouldn’t be the man who I am today.” 

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Chevron Employee Delivers Supplies to Harvey Victims in Beaumont

After Harvey slammed through the coastal lines of Texas and Louisiana, many volunteers rushed to aid those in bigger cities, such as Houston. But one man wanted to help with relief efforts in a smaller town and made a personal trip himself, along with a few others, to bring supplies and donations to the people of Beaumont, Texas. 

Wes Eubanks is a local Chevron employee who felt an overwhelming desire and connection to aid the people of Beaumont. Eubanks has always had a passion for helping others, but this time he knew he had to help with the city of Beaumont- because they had once also helped Jackson county from a previous disaster. 

After Katrina’s devastating destruction to the Coast, Westgate Memorial of Beaumont sent out a group of volunteers to help clean up and mud out efforts and get the people of Jackson County back on their feet. The church worked diligently and graciously to restore the county. Unbeknownst to them, Beaumont would need the same help themselves twelve years later. Fate aligned when Wes was referred to Westgate through a friend who was heading out to Beaumont, and he knew it was his turn to give back to the same group who had helped his town before. 

On September 8, Wes and his team packed up over 100 of JaxCoHome’s flood buckets, clothes, food, cases of water, rakes, shovels and carpentry tools and loaded them into a trailer to head out and deliver to the people of Beaumont.pic3-300x179 Chevron Employee Delivers Supplies to Harvey Victims in Beaumont “There were over 30 people at the church the day we arrived, but was told they are 200 strong working out in the community”, says Eubanks. The group spent the entire day handing out supplies and helping in any way possible to give back to Beaumont what they gave to Jackson County. Eubanks credits his team by saying, “They are working hard to rebuild the community and surrounding communities and help the people get stabilized.”

Wes Eubanks is no stranger himself when it comes to helping others in times of need. In fact, he frequently visits local homeless and rehab shelters, such as The Half Way Home, to bring gifts and make the residents feel special. pic3-300x179 Chevron Employee Delivers Supplies to Harvey Victims in Beaumont

During the holidays, Wes visits these shelters and hosts a Christmas party for the residents so they can feel and be a part of the Christmas spirit and celebrate with one another. “We have them open gifts and my band will play for Christmas songs for them. We just want to show them they are not forgotten”, said Eubanks.

Because of his consistent efforts to help others, JaxCoHome would like to dedicate our “Pay It Forward Friday” to Wes Eubanks from the Pascagoula Chevron Refinery. Thank you Wes for all that you do, not only for Jackson County, but also for anyone, anywhere who needs a helping hand. 

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Walk this Weekend for Suicide Prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention will be hosting their Mississippi Gulf Coast: Out of the Darkness Walk on Saturday, September 16. 

It is estimated that 44,000 Americans die by suicide each year, according to afsp.org. The AFSP plans to decrease that number through their awareness walks. 

The walk begins at 9:30 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and will cross over Highway 90 to the boardwalk and walk east on the boardwalk until the boardwalk ends. The route will then turn around and walk back to the Coliseum. The total distance is 1.5 miles.

Registration will begin at 8 a.m. and online registration will close Friday at noon. 

“When you walk in the Out of the Darkness Walks, you join the effort with hundreds of thousands of people to raise awareness and funds that allow AFSP to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss”, according to the foundation’s website. Ten names of registered walkers will be drawn at the end of the walk, and they will each win a prize bag.

If you are unable to walk, but would like to still donate you may do so on their website. The foundation encourages participants to use the hashtag #OutoftheDarkness on their social media outlets. 

For more information about the walk, call Teresa Danko at 228-8610-6068.

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Ocean Springs Education Foundation Hosted Annual Drawdown Fundraiser

The Ocean Springs Education Foundation, otherwise known as OSEF, hosted their annual drawdown fundraiser party on Saturday following the theme “Tailgating for Teachers”.

This is the non-profit’s only fundraising event of the year. The foundation raises funds for grants awarded to educators who have conceived in notative educational programs for the students enrolled in the Ocean Springs School District. OSEF also offers several special awards to reinforce its mission and recognize innovation in the classroom. According to the foundation’s Facebook page, “Since its inception, more than $220,000 in grants has been awarded for programs in the Ocean Springs School District.”

The foundation’s purpose is to grant the teachers the opportunity to experiment and be real laboratories of learning experiences in the classroom It also provides money they probably would not get from the district. 

“We had an amazing turnout with lots of fun had by many, all to raise money for the great teachers within our school district. All the funds raised goes directly back into the classrooms by way of grants”, says a representative from the event. 

When OSEF awards the grants in the spring, it also recognizes two outstanding grant recipients from the previous year with an award of $500 each. In addition, a teacher who has been nominated by a student or parent receives the Pieper Niolon Teacher of the Year recognition each December. 

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9/11 Memorial and Harvey Aid Event in Ocean Springs

Today marks the 16th anniversary of  the 9/11 terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 Americans. A commemoration is being held today on the 9/11 Memorial Plaza in New York, but for those who would like to honor the fallen heroes can do so tonight at the Ocean Springs Fire Department. 

The Ocean Springs Lions Club and the Ocean Springs Fire Department are hosting a free event to commemorate events on Sept 11, 2001, to salute first responders and to collect donations of survivors of Hurricane Harvey. It will be held from 5-7 p.m. at the Ocean Springs Fire Department, 3820 Bienville Blvd. 

Southern comfort barbecue will be served to the guests which will include state and local politicians 

Donations for Hurricane Harvey victims will also be collected at the event. Items that can be dropped off include: bottled water, canned foods, toys, pet supplies, blankets, tools, baby items, first aid supplies, box dinners, baby food, toiletries, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, yard and lawn supplies, as well as cash donations.

For more information, go to Ocean Springs Lions Club page on Facebook or call 228-282-0525.

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Ocean Springs Celebrates 125 Years

The city of Ocean Springs is celebrating its 125th birthday on Saturday with a community parade, cake and reception downtown. clcbtw Ocean Springs Celebrates 125 Years

The parade will start at 1:00 p.m. with a lineup at 11 a.m. 

The city of Ocean Springs, spearheaded by alderman Rob Blackman and former alderman Chic Cody, will host the parade. The parade lineup will be at The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center, 1600 Government St., travel west along Government to Washington, turn south on Washington, and end at the Ocean Springs Community Center where cake and refreshments will be served. 

The parade will feature Mayor Shea Dobson, and a float with the Board of Alderman aboard. City departments will have floats and the parade will feature the Old Biloxi Marching Club and classic cars.

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Jackson County School District Hosts First Fab Lab

 
The Jackson County School District (JCSD) hosted the first Fab Lab Mobile Unit school visit in Vancleave, Miss., on September 7. Sixth grade students at Vancleave Upper Elementary School connected their Mississippi Studies curriculum with hands-on learning. 
 
The Fab Lab Mobile Unit is a new technical platform designed to give students a hands-on learning experience with STEAM education. And it’s designed to add more fun into learning. 
 
At the first school visit, Vancleave students were interactively led through computer graphics, proportional calculations and even hands-on engraving. The students learned how to use the laser engraver and make their own symbol (Magnolia tree, deer, etc.)  of what Mississippi means to them. The mobile unit includes a vinyl cutter, laser cutter, 3d printer, and CNC router.
 
This summer, 50 JCSD teachers have been trained on the software and tools so that they can begin to integrate the Fab Lab mobile unit into their lesson planning.
 
In April, Chevron and Fab Lab partnered to create this $1.2 million project. The mobile unit will be making school and community stops throughout Jackson County, and the permanent location is expected to be complete by early 2018.
 
For more information on Fab Lab, visit fablabjacksoncounty.org
 
 
 
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