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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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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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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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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What You Need to Know for the Gulf Coast Blues and Heritage Festival

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues and Heritage Festival is back to celebrate 26 years of blues, good food and a great time this weekend.  

The festival will be held on Saturday, September 9 from 12-10 pm at the Jackson County Fairgrounds in Pascagoula. The price for tickets are $15 advance and $20 the day of the show. 

The festival features a lively array of southern soul, blues, zydeco, and gospel acts. It originally started in Biloxi, but has outgrown itself and its festival goers to a new location and a new audience. Phyllis Owens, President of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Blues Commission, says the festival has expanded its interest to host younger blues entertainers, as well as younger festival attendees. 

“It seems the crowd is getting younger each year. And that’s what we hope to do-continue the legacy of blues by including young ambassadors of the blues to become more involved”, says Owens.

Over 1,200 visitors are expected to attend this year, with some traveling all the way to the Gulf Coast from cities such as Chicago and Memphis to be a part of the longest running blues festivals in the Deep South. 

The featured artists this year include: André Lee, legendary Carl Sims, Columbus Toy, Yazoo Bayou Band, Donna Renae, Ms. Charli “Creole Diva” and many more. 

“The festival brings people and families together through their love and passion for the blues and is an important social event for many local organizations”, says Owens. “We hope this will serve as a signature event for the city of Pascagoula in hopes to increase interest in music amongst younger audiences in Jackson County,” said Owens. 

If you would like to find out more information about the festival, visit msgulfcoastbluesfest.com

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First Round of Flood Buckets, Beaumont Bound

21273330_726413284215875_4157953929642481845_o-300x225 First Round of Flood Buckets, Beaumont BoundIt’s an understatement to say Jackson County is full of cheerful givers. Since last week’s conception of the “#floodbucketchallenge” an outpouring of generosity from businesses and individuals has created a viral movement on Facebook. The first round of flood buckets will be loaded at Ocean Springs Lumber today starting at 5:00 pm. We are loading a trailer and will head for Beaumont early tomorrow morning.

UPDATE:   OVER 200 buckets are expected to be on the trailer filled with cleaning supplies, personal notes, and lots of prayer. Jackson County is no stranger to what the people of Texas are going through. “These flood buckets are filled with basic items that people will need as they clean out their homes. It’s our way of paying it forward and paying it back for those who helped us,”  says Beverly Dees of Ad-In Advertising.

Thank you to EVERYONE who participated!  ESPECIALLY our drop-off locations and sponsors: 

  • Heritage Funeral Home (http:www.heritagefuneralhome.com  https://www.facebook.com/HeritageFuneralHomeMossPoint/)
  • First United Methodist Church of Pascagoula  http://fumcpascagoula.org/  https://www.facebook.com/fumcpascagoula/
  • Ocean Springs Lumber and Supply Co. http://www.oslumber.com  https://www.facebook.com/OceanSpringsLumberSupplyCo/

 

After this first shipment of buckets, the #floodbucketchallenge will continue, however relief efforts shifting to larger boots on the ground organizations. Flood Buckets are still being collected at FUMC Pascagoula, where they will be handed off to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Similar relief efforts are happening locally which you can stay up to date by following the JaxCoHome Facebook page. This relief effort has truly shown the heart of Jackson County. The effort spearheaded by JaxCoHome.com can not thank Jackson County and everyone who has donated enough. This movement is a success and has been felt all the way in Texas. JaxCoHome.com would like to thank Ocean Springs Lumber, FUMC Pascagoula, and Heritage Funeral Homes for serving as drop off locations, and their personal donations to this relief effort. The Beaumont Chamber of Commerce will be receiving the truck and handling the distribution of the buckets on site.

On the heels of Harvey, we all sit with eyes on Irma. We encourage every resident to be prepared and stock up on items needed in case Jackson County is affected. 

You can find hurricane information and supply lists at the MEMA Preparation page: http://www.msema.org/be-prepared/hurricanes

Other ways you can help relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey:

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How Jackson County Can Help with #BucketsForBeaumont

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JaxCoHome is excited to announce that we will be sending all of our collected flood buckets to the people of Beaumont, Texas. 

Beaumont is located in Southeast Texas, along the Texas/Louisiana border and near the Gulf of Mexico. The city has become a watery wasteland after heavy impact of Hurricane Harvey. 

“The storm that inundated Houston swamped the city of Beaumont with a record 30 inches of rainfall, unleashed flash flooding that police said claimed two lives in Beaumont and forced hundreds of residents to flee to local shelters”, according to a report from NBC News. 

We selected Beaumont for our flood bucket project due to their proximity and similarity to the Gulf Coast. The city of Beaumont is not as large as Houston, but has received more flooding than Houston in the storm’s total rainfall.

“Many Texans in and around Beaumont [and] Port Arthur are fighting for their lives against an incredible amount of water,” said NBC News Meteorologist Bill Karins. “This is just as bad, if not worse, than flooding in Houston.”

The city of Beaumont continues to flood and is not getting as much media attention as other cities, such as Houston. Beaumont’s relief needs are just as important as those in bigger cities. The Mississippi Gulf Coast remembers when New Orleans was the center of focus, but we also were majorly impacted by Katrina. Beaumont is a smaller town and needs help from Jackson County, Mississippi.

Over the last 30 hours since Harvey has landed, Beaumont has received 26.5” of rain- putting storm totals at 43.67” of rain and is continuing to receive more rain and Harvey rips through what’s left of the city. 

“We are so appreciative of the people of Jackson County coming together to help us”, says Regina Lindsey, Beaumont Chamber of Commerce. 

You still have until Tuesday, September 5 to fill your flood buckets and drop off at any of our three locations in Jackson County:

First United Methodist Church, Pascagoula, 2710 Pascagoula Street

Heritage Funeral Home, Moss Point, 9721 Hwy 63

Ocean Springs Lumber, Ocean Springs, 1611 Government Street

For more information and updates on our #FloodBucketChallenge, visit jaxhome.com

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The Shed Helps Flood Victims with BBQ

Operation BBQ Relief is lifting spirits of those affected by Hurricane Harvey with delicious BBQ cooked by The Shed. 

Coast volunteers are teaming up with The Shed to send their food and love to those devastated by Hurricane Harvey. The owner of The Shed, Brad Orrison, is a volunteer with Operation BBQ Relief. He’s been cooking up some pork and brisket to send to those affected by the storm. obr_lg_logo-300x242 The Shed Helps Flood Victims with BBQ

Operation BBQ Relief is a national organizaiton composed of over 5,000 volunteers who either own a BBQ joint, work in BBQ, or even just love BBQ. These volunteers are all about cooking flavorful food in bulk to help those in need. The organization was started in May of 2011 in response to a need for relief efforts in tornado-stricken Joplin, Missouri. 

“We’ll cook bulk meals to feed entire churches, first responders, and even The Red Cross”, he said. “We’re expecting to collectively cook between 300,000-400,000 meals for the people affected by Hurricane Harvey”, stated Orrison. 

The relief fund currently has crews in Katy, Texas and Hammond, Louisiana on the ground ready to help feed. 

Orrison plans to offer more than just bbq to the people affected by Harvey. The Shed is now accepting large bulk items for donations to the organization and relief efforts. They will be accepting these items for the next 2 weeks. 

When asked how the people of Jackson County can help, Orrison suggested people donate $20 online to the Operation BBQ Relief website or by donating bulk canned items to The Shed. 

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