Manna Ministries prepares for fall fundraiser

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Nonprofit Manna Ministries will celebrate its 20th year serving Pearl River County with a fall fundraiser on October 12 at The Grand.

Tickets for the fundraising event are $25 and include a catered meal. The organization is also selling 50/50 raffle tickets for $20. The raffle winner will receive fifty percent of the money made from tickets sold, which could be up to $5,000, said Manna Ministries Project Director Dixie Reneault.

The event will include a lighthearted roast of Manna Ministries’ medical director Dr. DeWitt Bolton, who has been volunteering at the medical clinic since he retired in 2005, Reneault said.

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“He’s been such a dedicated volunteer with us for so many years and so many people in town know him,” Reneault said.

The fundraiser will also include a silent auction and music, Reneault said. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward the organization’s general operating costs, including utilities and building insurance, Reneault said.

“It’s very hard to get funders who will support operational costs, so we have to rely on a fundraiser event or individual donations from churches or people,” Reneault said.

Manna Ministries began as a small food bank that offered food once a week to families in need, Reneault said. Services offered at Manna Ministries have expanded and changed to meet needs in the community, Reneault said.

“We’re always on the lookout for what’s the next thing we need to get involved with—the next thing in the community that needs to be addressed,” Reneault said.

In 2005, the nonprofit opened a free primary care clinic that serves uninsured people within the community, Reneault said. The organization runs a clinic in Picayune and a satellite clinic in Poplarville, as well as a free dental clinic. The clinics offer free diagnostic lab testing, free EKG testing and help acquiring medical supplies, Reneault said. All of the dentists, doctors and nurses are volunteers.

The organization also offers free wellness programs for anyone in the community, including stress management, medication management and nutrition.

In previous years, the nonprofit offered financial literacy classes and from 2008 to 2013, housing counseling services. The housing counseling services helped 53 families prevent foreclosures on their homes, Reneault said.

After speaking with parents whose children were being held back in school for poor reading skills, Manna began offering a free after school tutoring program to children in first through third grade who read below their grade level, Reneault said. Seven years later, the tutoring program is still running.

After Hurricane Katrina, Manna became involved in disaster case management, because there were so many people in the community who needed help rebuilding homes, Reneault said.

Currently, Manna is helping Poplarville residents rebuild or replace their homes through United Way and MEMA grants who experienced major flooding in their homes during a storm in May, Reneault said.

Twenty years after opening its doors, Manna Ministries is still offering food to those in need. The nonprofit has a food delivery program for families who cannot reach the food banks, whether they are physically unable to get to them or lack transportation, Reneault said.

The fundraiser will take place at The Grand, located at 217 S. Curran Ave. in Picayune. Tickets are available at Manna Ministries or at the Greater Picayune Area Chamber of Commerce office. For more information, contact Manna Ministries at 601-799-2121.