PASCASGOULA, MS (WLOX) - The Boys & Girls Clubs of Jackson County is struggling financially to keep its four clubs going. The organization has had to cut jobs and employee medical benefits to make ends meet.
Quantavius McCann enjoys shooting hoops with his friends at the Boys & Girls Club in Pascagoula. The teen said he would rather have fun here than to run into trouble in his neighborhood.
"We play basketball, we go in the back in the computer lab and we watch movies," he said.
Alexusia Jones has been a member of the club half her life and feels it's a great place to learn new things and meet new people.
"It helps kids have a better future, instead of getting on the streets with guns, gang violence, fights," she said.
The organization serves about 1,100 children at its four locations. Director Catherine Glaude said the problem is a lot of grants and other funding have run out, which makes it difficult to keep the clubs open.
"A lot of the grants we did lose," Glaude said. "We downsized, in April, our budget to a little bit than half."
The organization's budget was slashed by about $300,000. As a result, eight employees were let go and medical insurance for many other workers was cut.
"It was a hard decision to make, but we had to keep this organization alive and going," Glaude said.
Glaude said each club is now asking parents to pay an activity fee to provide extras for the children.
"It is important to give our children a future. They must have an avenue and an outlet to be involved in positive activities."
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Jackson County is hosting its major fundraiser Thursday night at 6pm. The Annual Steak and Steak Dinner will be held at the Jackson County Civic Center in Pascagoula. If you would like attend the dinner or donate to the organization, call (228) 762-3497 or click here for more information.