South Mississippi program for special needs individuals receives 20k

Pine Belt folks know how to celebrate their loved ones.

The Temple Baptist Church parking lot was a crowded scene on Tuesday evening as local law enforcement officials, mascots from area schools and others participated in a parade to support those in the ARC (The Association for the Rights of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities) network.

Folks from across Mississippi flooded the church parking lot to catch a glimpse of the parade that celebrates individuals with mental challenges in the Pine Belt area. Most members expressed their personalities by dressing up in a way that suited them best. Some were clothed as kings and queens, others sported decor of their favorite sports team.

More than five hundred individuals attended the event, according to ARC executive director, Theresa Erickson.

"The Greater Pine Belt Community Foundation has been serving our community since 1997, and this is the third year that we've been able to give a check to ARC, which we're very excited about," said Erickson.

After the parade, a check presentation was held in the Christian Activity Center. There was a DJ, food, and fellowship among guests.

The Greater Pine Belt Community Foundations' Ann Morris Memorial Fund recently awarded two $10,000 grants to the ARC of South Mississippi to support their "Rise and Shine" and "Sunsetters, not Sunsitters" programs.