(The following is a press release from Mississippi Children's Home Services. For more details and ticket information, visit www.mchscares.org or call 769-777-1030.)
During the last 36 years of service to the community, South Mississippi Children's Center (SMCC) has served as a safe haven for many children.
"Jenna*, who was 15 or 16 at the time, was brought to us because her mom didn't want her anymore," said SMCC Director Annie Jackson. "She didn't have any friends or other family she could stay with; she had nowhere to go. Jenna wasn't in school and had no skills, but above all that she had no one to believe in her, so that's what we did."
Staff at SMCC arranged for Jenna to begin GED classes and identified nearby volunteer work to help her gain skills training. She attained her GED and was matched with a foster family she met through volunteering. At last update, Jenna had gained employment and is planning to attend college to become a social worker.
SMCC is a child crisis shelter serving homeless and runaway youth and providing emergency housing for children removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect and other crisis situations. The shelter offers services for children ages 9 to 20 years old. In 2015 alone, SMCC provided refuge for 104 children from across South Mississippi.
"We offer emergency housing for up to 12 or 14 children at a time," said Jackson. "We also provide clothing, food, transportation, educational support, trauma counseling and medical and dental care for each child who comes through our doors. It's sad that we have to be here, but I'm glad we are able to provide for kids in crisis."
The Advisory Board of South Mississippi Children's Center, a program of Mississippi Children's Home Services (MCHS), will host its annual VINES of the World Wine Tasting and Auction Thursday, September 29, 2016, to directly benefit the SMCC and help make success stories like Jenna's possible. VINES will be held at the Venue at The Bakery Building in downtown Hattiesburg from 6 until 10 p.m. It will feature fine wines and spirits from across the globe and mouthwatering cuisine from the area's premier restaurants.
Tickets to the event may be purchased on the MCHS website, www.mchscares.org or through the MCHS Facebook page. For additional information about VINES, please 769-777-1030.
In addition to general contributions, SMCC is also in constant need of volunteers, mentors, and donations of toiletries and giftcards. Contact the shelter at 601-582-8891 or toll free at 800-635-9056 to get involved.