New Tent Community Center Opens In Waveland

Hancock County Katrina victims now have a new place to get a hot meal and relax and unwind from the stress of storm debris and rebuilding.

Camp Second Helping opened its doors to the public in Waveland Wednesday. The goal is to lift spirits and bring families together for a little fun.

"Camp Second Helping is basically a family community center. We've got games and crafts, we'll have talent shows and dances and concerts. We're working on getting as many live musicians here as possible for live music, we have a projector for big screen movies for nightly movies. We're hoping to get a popcorn maker and a few other things. We are growing," camp founder Spring Styer said.

Video games for children and Internet access for adults are other options for storm weary residents. And what's a camp without food? Lunch and dinner will be served daily.

"We just want to be a healthy place where people can come and be distracted, so that it's okay to go back to the little FEMA trailers and it's okay to go back to a messy front yard."

Camp Second Helping is the brain child of Spring Styer. The Indiana native got the idea after volunteering at the New Rainbow Cafe shortly after the storm.

"There will be that little old lady that needs a meal or just needs a place to hang out because she's afraid to be in her FEMA trailer alone. For the teenage kids that have nothing to do, now there's going to be a place to come and hang out. For the little old ladies that just don't have enough space for their sewing circles, there is space."

Resident John Covode says places like this will really benefit the community.

"I think it's good for Waveland and Bay St. Louis and it gives people a place to come and meet and talk. If you think you're in the struggle all by yourself, it's difficult sometimes to get going."

Camp Second Helping is open every day from 10am-10pm. It's located at the old American Legion site on Coleman Avenue in Waveland. All of the services and food are free to storm victims.

The camp is a registered non-profit in Mississippi and will operate on donations and corporate sponsorships. Anyone interested in making a donation can do so by contacting Spring Styer at 228-342-8834.

by Al Showers