By Traci Rouse
There is a Pine Belt first grade student who felt torn between elation and fear as the school year approached. Elated because she loves to learn. Fearful because her family is underprivileged and she wondered if they had enough money to buy school supplies. Today, this little girl feels good because she has what she needs at school. Thanks to Hattiesburg Junior Auxiliary’s “Backpack” project, she has a backpack full of supplies.
Junior Auxiliary provides a wide array of services to Pine Belt area children through 24 service projects throughout each year. From partnering with Wesley Medical Center on Wesley Kids to providing fun activities once a month for the children of the Association of Retarded Citizens, the organization continues to find ways to help the area. If there is a need facing children and their families, JA members actively work to address those needs or find existing resources that can help. JA also provides 10 college scholarships to high school students each year, which are awarded based on participation in community activities, leadership, character, and scholastic achievement.
All of the work conducted by JA members is funded through one single event, the organization’s annual Charity Ball.
“We cannot thank the community enough for their support of this annual fundraiser,” said Sloan Buys, President of Hattiesburg’s JA. “Through their donations, silent auction items and attendance at the event, each and every person who helps is actually financially supporting our 24 service projects. Our community has a proud tradition of generously supporting Charity Ball and all the endeavors of Junior Auxiliary, and for that we are truly honored.”
This year’s event is scheduled for Friday, November 12th at 8pm at the Lake Terrace Convention Center. The event raises more than $100,000 to fund the organization’s annual service projects. This year’s Masquerade Charity Ball theme highlights the many faces of the children served by JA.
“We want to showcase the children of our community and the projects funded through the money raised at Charity Ball,” said Charity Ball Chair Angela Duff. “We want all who attend to see exactly where their donations will go.”
Duff would like to personally invite each person in our community to come out for a night of fun, decadent food, and fabulous décor. “Most importantly we invite the community to join the ladies of Junior Auxiliary as we celebrate the many ways this organization is improving the lives of Pine Belt area children in need.”
The event will feature a spectacular silent auction, exquisite artwork, and an assortment of goods and services from regional businesses.
Once again this year the event will feature a raffle to win a magnificent piece of jewelry valued at more than $4,500 from Jewel Masters of Hattiesburg. Entertainment will be provided by the band “Meet the Press”. Tickets are $100, which admits two.
“Humanitarian of the Year” will also be awarded at the event. Former recipients of this award include Frances Bounds, Raylawni Branch, Dr. D.B. Conerly, Rev. Henry Craft, Dr. Etoile Dubard, Nora and Buck Ford, Mike Garner, Russ Hendley, Joey Pace, Cindy Pennington and Rev. Bill Prout.
To learn more about Junior Auxiliary, visit www.hattiesburgjuniorauxiliary.org.
Tickets to Charity Ball may be purchased at 601-268-2330 or www.hattiesburgjuniorauxiliary.org.