GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Beneath the oak trees in Pass Christian Wednesday night sat nearly 200 people at a table that stretched across the lawn. The owners of the property put on the dinner for one simple reason.
"The message of the night is to support the children, get them to college, and that's what One Big Table is about," said Peggy Strabery.
The event was called, One Big Table: For Two Great Causes.
It raised money for two after school programs, Gulfport 100 and Gulfport PAL. Both are associations that help kids expand their horizons.
"Gulfport Police Athletic League is an association that helps kids through tutorial programs, after-school summertime programs, sporting activities, tutoring," said Gulfport Lieutenant Mike Shaw.
Lt. Shaw has worked with Gulfport PAL for years and said it gives kids a healthy understanding of law enforcement.
"If it wasn't for organizations like ours, a lot of kids wouldn't have this opportunity," said Lt. Shaw. "The things that we do are free of charge."
That's why Gulfport PAL relies on money from donations and fundraisers. You can see the positive effects of the program in 10-year-old D'Janee Harris.
"After we finish our homework, then we go into the big room and sometimes we do arts and crafts," said Harris.
The 5th grader has been coming to Gulfport PAL for three years. It's something she said has definitely paid off.
"Maybe I wouldn't get as many good grades as I do now," said Harris.
"The kids would tell them thank you, of course," said Lt. Shaw. "It's given them a place to come and be safe."
Thanks to one giant dinner table, these kids will continue to have a lot more learning opportunities and fun. The other after school program is Gulfport 100 which provides kids with musical opportunities.