Fair food financial main course for Jackson County nonprofit's

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - When jackson county fair goers get hungry, they know where to go.  In fact, they flock to the ten food booths, where local nonprofits are ready to feed them.

"Gumbo, red beans and rice, chicken tenders, french fries," lists Karen Joplin, who has been staffing the Pascagoula High School Impact Show Choir's Booster Club booth all week.  The booth also features daily specials.  Friday's was BBQ.

"We're famous for our gumbo," said Barbara Robertson who worked the booth manned by members of three Methodist Churches, Safe Harbor, Escatawpa and Kreole.

It's the first year for the Impact Boosters to have a booth at the fair.

"Everyone seems to love our food and that's good," Joplin said.  "We just want to get a really good reputation this year so the boosters can continue this each year.

The group holds fundraisers periodically, but this year they need some extra cash to help pay for a choir trip to Iowa.

"The money has to come from somewhere," Joplin said.  "So it will either come out of the parents pockets, or it will come out of fundraisers or little things here and there.  It's very expensive to be in show choir.  So we wanted to try to defray some of that cost from the parents."

They don't know how much they'll raise this year, but just a few booths over, the Methodist Churches have come to depend on fair booth revenue.  Last year, they raised $38,000.

"It helps us generate our budget, to give to our youth ministry, our children's ministry," listed Tonia Lynd, Secretary at Safe Harbor Methodist Church.  "Every group in our church benefits from this fundraiser.

The proceeds also spread community-wide.

"We give to Hope House Ministries.  We give to Salvation Army and Our Daily Bread.  We give to them every month," Lynd said.

And this year, they'll count on that revenue more than ever.

"Sometimes when the budget gets low, we depend on this to bring it back up," Barbara Robertson said.

"And with today's economic times, it's very beneficial," Lynd added.

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