Jackson County 'pays it forward'

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX)- A typical Saturday morning rummage sale draws big crowds of people who are trying to make the most of their dollars, especially in a tightening economy.

"I go to a lot of yard sales and all, especially now that times is getting hard, and I've retired. so you know stretch out pennies," said Moss Point resident Margaret Moore.

Saturday morning, her pennies stretched further than most people could imagine.  She went to the Jackson County SPCA yard sale at the Gautier Civic Center.  Not only did she stretch her money, but she also made an impact for others.  Half the proceeds from the event are going to help Ike victims from Chambers County, TX, which lies just east of Galveston County.

"I think that South Mississippians particularly know the kind of help this can bring. Any small amount, any large amount really helps," said event organizer Bill Richman.

It's just one of about sixteen different fundraisers in Jackson County to help the hurricane-ravaged Texas county.  The fundraisers are part of a 'chain of charity' that started three years ago in Minnesota.

"When we had Katrina, Jackson County was one of the counties that was a little lost in the media, not entirely but compared to New Orleans and some other places," said Richman.  "And a small county in Minnesota that was also Jackson County held fundraisers and things and brought down thirty thousand dollars and helped out their sister county."

Now Jackson County is paying it forward by adopting Chambers County.  They picked it because of its similarities to Jackson County, and they are using the exact same methods that their Minnesota twin county used to help them.

"We could have gone through a straight solicitation, saying hey give us money, but I think a lot of the employees wanted to put the same kind of effort to it as the people in Minnesota did," said County Administrator Allan Sudduth. "They wanted to give of their time and of themselves."

Hopefully the chain won't stop here.

"I have a feeling that knowing the way our country is and knowing the way people are, that somewhere down the line, they'll see an opportunity to pay it forward as well," Sudduth said.

The yard sale continues Sunday, and other fundraisers will continue until the end of the week.  Proceeds will go toward helping Chambers County employees get back on their feet.