South Mississippi gives back to New York City firefighters - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

South Mississippi gives back to New York City firefighters

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BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Hundreds of South Mississippians stood in line at the Biloxi Town Green to get a Mugshots hamburger for lunch, not just for the burger, but the cause it supported. The Junior Auxiliary put on the cookout to give back to New York City firemen.

"We just want to say thank you," said Jessica Mcneel, who chaired the event. "We want them to know we appreciate and continue to appreciate all they've done for us."

That appreciation was clear by the more than 1,500 lunches sold and the more than 500 pounds of donations dropped off in just one day.

"When I saw this in the newspaper, I jumped at the chance to just do whatever we could to help," Cathy Gorenflo said.

"So many people over the years, all the many, many years, have helped us and our friends and families. It's our turn," Matthew Lambert said.

One of those who came out was a New York native whose family lost everything.

"I feel proud to be from New York, but proud to be a Mississippian now and watch the giving back," Jill Cartledge said.

While Cartledge did not live here during Hurricane Katrina, she came down shortly afterwards and remembers how touched she was to see so many people help in the recovery.

"I remember seeing all the fire engines with their lights going as they were all coming down to start helping people. I was crying. So I'm pretty amazed to our response to this," Cartledge said.

Junior Auxiliary member Callie Mullins works for Mugshots and came up with the idea for the fundraiser.

"I've been fortunate enough to work with the Mississippi Santa for the past three years and it is something that touches my heart. I thought it was a great pairing and a great way to get involved," Mullins said.

And she was right, organizers said they raised more than $7,000.

The New York firefighters will be down next weekend, and instead of giving out gifts they collected, this year they will give out gifts South Mississippians collected. If you would like to donate a gift, you can drop it off at any Biloxi fire station.

Copyright 2012 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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