Young Singer Raises Money To Rebuild Seashore Mission

A barren slab and battered sign are all that remain of Seashore Mission. But there is renewed hope.

A young singer from Jackson County is determined to help Seashore rebuild. She's 16-year-old Elizabeth Cumbest. Her new CD is a compilation of post-Katrina songs.

"All Things New" features inspiring Christian music that was created as the singer reflected on all Hurricane Katrina left in her wake.

"Where you restore this broken heart of mine, down by the sea, seashore," is the memorable melody that echoes through the namesake song about Seashore Mission.

Young Elizabeth approached the project with humble aspirations.

"My initial thought was, if I can pay for one window, that's one window the Seashore Mission can have that I feel like I contributed to," she said.

The soon-to-be junior at East Central High has succeeded far beyond buying just a window. So far, she's raised more than $30,000.

"I applaud her. She seems like a very visionary person. A person who is compassionate about people," said the Reverend Elijah Mitchell.

Rev. Mitchell oversees Seashore Mission from its temporary home at Beauvoir United Methodist, which provides office space and room for a food pantry.

"Seashore Mission still exists. We do not have an infrastructure of our own, but we're still in ministry. We're still providing some services to the homeless population, but the need is still shelter," said Rev. Mitchell.

The biggest challenge now facing Seashore is finding an acceptable, permanent location. Although the original spot on Howard Avenue hasn't been ruled out, it appears unlikely Seashore will rebuild there. The ministry had faced consistent opposition over the years from neighbors and others.

"I wanted to do anything I could to help bring this mission back to what it was," says a confident and successful Elizabeth Cumbest.

Several sites are being considered for the future home of Seashore. A certain young singer is confident things will work out.

Rev. Mitchell says he'd like to keep Seashore Mission in East Biloxi, but would be willing to consider other locations. He's currently reviewing several possible sites, but could not reveal them because of pending negotiations.