Shrimp dinner ticket sales well under way

Published 1:46 pm Thursday, September 19, 2013

The shrimp cookers will be firing soon and the smells of fresh-baked sweets will be filling the air as local Junior Auxiliary members get ready for their annual Peel ‘Em and Eat ‘Em Shrimp Dinner coming up Thursday, Oct. 17.

Ticket sales are already well under way for the dinner, which is scheduled from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Brookhaven Recreation Department to raise money for community service.

Tickets for the takeout dinners are $10 each and are available by calling Junior Auxiliary member Valarie Oglesby at (601) 757-0551. She can also be reached through email at Tickets also can be purchased from JA members and will be available at the Ole Brook Festival at the booth of the Crown Club girls Saturday Oct. 5.

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The Crown Club is a group of young women – sophomores and juniors – that are mentored by Junior Auxiliary members. They are taught the values of community service and are groomed as future leaders in the community as well, Oglesby said. The Crown Club will be raising money for their own service projects as well.

This year K&B Seafood of Brookhaven will do the cooking for the shrimp dinner. Oglesby said they cooked last year and did a great job.

“We had a lot of satisfied customers,” she said.

JA members will also have a “Sweet Shoppe” bake sale at the recreation department when people pick up their dinners. She said it should be a big spread of homemade baked goodies from several of the members.

Oglesby said the annual dinner is the JA’s one shot at raising money for the many projects the group does for the community throughout the year.

“This is our one and only fund raiser,” she said. “This is the only thing we do in asking our community to help us.” She said the JA reaches out to 10,000 people in Lincoln County every year through several community service projects.

“So, this is a really important fundraiser.”

Auxiliary members are all about serving the community. This year some of their projects include:

• A reading assistance program called EARS, Excellence and Assistance in Reading Service, where members go into schools once a week to read to children who need extra assistance.

• One-on-one mentorships, where members sponsor a student who is in need of a tutor or an adult they can turn to for life skills advice.

• Health fairs that teach healthy lifestyles involving exorcise and nutrition.

• Scholarships – every counselor at every school has applications for JA scholarships, said Oglesby.

“We give scholarships through the Mississippi Scholars program, too. We gave away four scholarships in all last year, one of them a Mississippi Scholar.”

• Reality-World. Ninth-graders go through a mock trial on life. They get “money” based on their GPA and they use this to pay bills and get rewards. It’s to promote setting goals and being responsible, Oglesby said.

• Life Choices program – includes teen pregnancy awareness and help with ACT registration .

• Child welfare projects – they provide emergency clothes at all of the area schools, provide supplies to school nurses, provide for families who’ve been burned out of their home, and other emergency needs.

• The Angel Tree project – they provide Christmas gifts and other items to needy children during the holidays. There are guidelines for each child, which include a list of their needs and clothes sizes and at least three toys for Christmas morning.

Oglesby said community support is vital to their organization.

“Without community support we can’t make all of this happen,” she said. “It takes a lot of funding to do all of these projects, so we greatly appreciate people who can donate.”

People can mail in donations to Brookhaven Junior Auxiliary, P.O. Box 169, Brookhaven, MS 39602. The Brookhaven JA’s are a 501-3(c) organization, so donations are 100 percent tax-deductible.