Hope Haven having a ball raising money

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - By Elizabeth Vowell – email

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - There's no better excuse to spend a day at the ball park than the Hope Haven Cabbage Ball Games.

"We're a small town charity. Small town folks step up to the plate and help us out," said Hope Haven Director Terry Latham.

The charity helps support local foster families and children. The games raise money for Haven Children Services through sponsors, t-shirt sales and booths. Teams step up to play cabbage ball, which is a game not unlike softball named for the uniquely shaped ball. Kids enjoy crafts, activities and even cabbage bowling that uses the real thing.

"It's grown to be one of our largest local fund raisers and certainly the most fun we have every year," said Latham.

According to Latham, the cabbage ball games actually started as a couple of bars wanting to play ball. Ten years later, it's grown into a huge event organized by a committee.

The extra support for Hope Haven is needed more than ever. A recent lawsuit against the state led to Hope Haven closing some of its foster group homes. While they still provide support for hundreds of foster families in the area, they've had to change tactics.

"We had a plan B, and we put plan B into effect immediately. We're doing more preventive work to stop children from being taken into custody in the beginning," said Latham.

Hope Haven is holding parenting and anger management classes along with other programs.  Latham says it also has a new goal: to recruit and train 15 new foster families each year.

Latham says Hope Haven is also working with kids who have aged out of the foster system, to provide them with every opportunity to go to school and receive an education.

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