Snackin’ around: Group provides assisted employment services
An entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages an enterprise or business with initiative and risk. The majority of entrepreneurs are small business owners.
About a year ago, nine unique residents of Pearl River County began their own journey into the world of entrepreneurship.
It’s called the Snack Shack and is located in the Millard Government Building.
One of the original owners is 36-year-old Stephanie Davis. Davis is a resident at Millcreek Home and Community Based Services, an assisted living facility that provides support services to individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Suzette Morrow is a director care worker at Millcreek and formerly worked with supported employment.
Supported employment service is designed to assist residents with getting around in the community and finding jobs through a Medicaid intellectual developmental and disabilities waiver, Morrow said. Each individual has a job coach that assists and encourages them throughout each workday.
Not only does the employment service provide intellectually disabled individuals work-related skills, but also an independence that comes from earning an income, Millcreek Program Director Courtney Williams said.
“They feel like an integrated part of the community,” Williams said. “The community gets to know them and they develop relationships outside of the community we serve.”
The Snack Shack was created in June 2013.
Davis said she sells a variety of items at her cart including coffee, candy, pickles, chips, canned drinks and other snack food.
“I do an excellent job here,” Davis said. “It feels good to own my own business and see my regular customers.”
Davis said her favorite part of the job is getting the cart ready for the day. She is also in charge of cleanup and packing up items at the end of her shift.
Davis works on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Snack Shack and has a second job cleaning the offices at Christian Care, a local food bank.
In her free time Davis said she loves watching movies, reading books, listening to music by Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Alan Jackson, spoiling her dog Abby and attending First Baptist Church of Picayune.
She is a huge Saints fan and said that Drew Brees is her idol.
Davis said she likes the idea of working.
“It makes me more independent and that makes me happy,” Davis said.
Nancy Clark is Davis’ job coach and oversees the ordering of snacks and compensating vendors. She is a retired special education teacher and has been working at Millcreek for the past two years.
“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” Clark said. “Stephanie is a wonderful employee. She is a self-starter and just looks around and knows what needs to be done. She also has an instinct for retail.”
Marvin Houston, Director of the Pearl River County Department of Human Services, is a daily customer.
“I’ve been a customer since they opened,” Houston said. “It’s very useful to have food items here because food locations are far from this building. Stephanie is a very nice person. They all do a great job and it’s for a great purpose. They are also reasonably priced.”
The Snack Shack is located at 153 Savannah Millard Road.
Williams said the group will provide employment services to any Pearl River County residents with intellectual, physical and mental disabilities with employment services.
“First people let us know they are interested and begin the process with a Medicaid waiver and help them get approval to work,” Williams said.
For more information about Millcreek and their services contact Williams at 601-799-4797 and through their website at www.millcreekhcbs.com.