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Back Bay Mission

Basics to Hosting a Shrimp Boil to Raise Money and Awareness for Back Bay Mission

By | Giving Opportunities | No Comments

For decades, shrimp boils have been a traditional way for churches to support Back Bay Mission. Every year, churches and other organizations around the country host these simple events. Through them, congregations strengthen neighborhoods, seek justice, and transform lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Traditionally, shrimp boils are simple events that any church can easily host. And to make it easier, we’ve prepared this short guide to host one! We hope you’ll take a look and consider supporting Back Bay Mission by hosting your own shrimp boil.

Shrimp Boil Basics

Shrimp boils are informal events. The traditional Gulf Coast shrimp boil recipe is nothing more than water, shrimp, lemon, seasoning, heat, and time. The cooked and drained shrimp is then poured out over newspaper-covered tables and served with cocktail sauce and drinks. Cleanup is taken care of by gathering everything on the table and putting it right in the trash. No dishes or silverware means no fuss, no muss.

When it comes to programming, we generally suggest dinner first. An hour for dinner and an hour (or less) for a program strikes a good balance between fun and learning. The program portion of the evening can be taken care of by volunteers from your congregation, people in your area who have agreed to represent the Mission or even Mission staff!

Shrimp boils raise money either through ticket sales or free-will offerings (or both). These, too, keep things simple. Ticket costs can be based on the amount it costs to host the event. Free-will offerings may mean that the church has to cover at least some of the cost of the meal. Either way, if the audience is excited to be supporting a good cause, these can raise money to support Back Bay Mission.

Of course, different churches do things differently. Some congregations prepare low country shrimp boil with sausage, potatoes, corn, and more. Some serve their boils on plates. Some add salads, garlic bread, and non-shrimp options. Some raise money through silent auctions and raffles. Some have wine pulls. Shrimp boils are as diverse as the congregations that host them.

Below, we’re going to give some suggestions on hosting a shrimp boil that you can mix and match. This will help you make your shrimp boil yours while keeping the common core that brings all shrimp boils together: strengthening neighborhoods, seeking justice, and transforming lives.

The Food

Gulf Coast shrimp boils are usually simple. This recipe will serve eight, so multiply accordingly:

  • Thaw and separate 5 lbs. of frozen shrimp. We suggest 26/30 count shrimp, which means 26 to 30 shrimp per pound. These are sometimes labeled ‘Extra Large’ shrimp.
  • Bring 3/4 gallons of water, 1/2 cup of salt, 1/2 cup of lemon juice, and 1 oz. Zatarain’s liquid shrimp and crab boil (or 1 bag Zatarain’s dry shrimp and crab boil) to a boil.
  • Add the shrimp to the water.
  • Boil the shrimp for four to six minutes. After that, remove a shrimp from the water, shock it in cold water, and test it for doneness. If done, the shell will be separating from the flesh, which will be firm and white.
  • Once the shrimp is done, remove it from heat and 1/2 gallon of cold water to stop the cooking process. Steep the shrimp for three to five minutes. Drain and serve hot.

You might prefer a low country shrimp boil, with more ingredients. And many congregations add salads, garlic bread, and cocktail sauce. You can find some recipes here:

You may also want to have a non-shrimp option for kids or others who might just not like shrimp.

The Service

Traditional shrimp boil service is simple. Cover tables with old newspaper and pour the shrimp over the table. Guests can grab, peel, eat, and deposit their peels right on the table. This makes cleanup easy as well: just grab everything and put it in the trash. Most churches that host shrimp boils do something like this, though many also have plates for people. Choose something that fits the personality of your congregation, but we recommend against buffets or formal table service.

The Program

Part of the purpose of any shrimp boil is to introduce people to – or update people about – Back Bay Mission. Usually, this is done through a program after dinner. There are a few different options for a great program.

If your church has recently gone on a mission trip to Back Bay Mission, your volunteers might be able to put a great program together. They can share about their experiences and about what they learned while they were with us in Biloxi.

If you’re new to Back Bay Mission, don’t have any volunteers in your congregation, or just want something a little more special, contact church relations associate Carol Merriman(by phone at 228-243-5322 or ). She’ll be happy to come to your shrimp boil (or, if she’s unavailable, set up a visit from other Mission staff, a member of our Board of Directors, or a volunteer in your area). Please note that we can only send staff if the shrimp boil is raising money specifically for the Mission.

Plan on leaving about an hour for the program.

Raising Money

The other part of the purpose for a shrimp boil is to raise money. There are a few great ways to do this.

First, you can sell tickets. Your best bet here is to figure out the cost per serving and double or triple it. This will make sure that you cover costs and that you raise additional money for the Mission.

Second, you can take a free will offering. This can be done by having baskets for donations on the tables or by passing a basket through the crowd.

Third, some churches decide to add other options for raising money. They can be a lot of work, but silent auctions, raffles, and other events can raise significant amounts of money. Check your state and local laws before raising money in ways other than ticket sales and free will offerings. Some fundraisers, like raffles, are regulated.


Shrimp boils are a great way to introduce your congregation to Back Bay Mission while raising money to strengthen neighborhoods, seek justice, and transform lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. We hope you’ll consider hosting one at your church or organization. Once you’ve decided to do that – or if you want to explore the idea some more – contact Church Relations Associate Carol Merriman (by phone at 228-243-5322 or ) and let us know!

In Their Shoes

By | Events, Micah Day Center

Have you ever found yourself wondering what it is like to be homeless? Living on the streets, never knowing when your next meal will come, or when you’ll again wear clean clothes? Sleeping on the streets or in the woods? 

Now is your chance to learn what a day in the life of a homeless person is like through Back Bay Mission’s In Their Shoes program. Start your experience with a homeless scenario. Come to understand why homelessness occurs, especially in regions such as the Gulf Coast. Learn what services are offered by Back Bay Mission, and other partnering organizations. Meet program caseworkers and learn what each does to support our clients. In just over two hours, your eyes will be opened to a whole world existing just outside your doorstep.  

OCTOBER 11 | 9-11:30 AM



Come together and learn about our homeless community by taking a walk…

In Their Shoes

RSVP to Laura Payne, or 228.432.0301

Movers for Military Partnership!

By | Veterans
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Gulf Coast has been serving the Mississippi coast with professional movers and packing services since they opened their Gulfport office in 2013. Since then, their services have grown to a fleet of 10 trucks with 25 full-time movers and a recently added satellite office in Hattiesburg. They move apartments, condominiums, homes, and everything in between. Whether you need help rearranging furniture from one room to another, or you’re moving down the road or across town, let TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® Gulf Coast make your home or business relocation easy, affordable, and stress-free.

To make things even more exciting, starting October 1st, Two Men and a Truck will partnering with Back Bay Mission to raise money for our Veteran Support Fund. For every LIKE their Facebook page receives, Two Men and a Truck will be donating $1.00 to Back Bay Mission. Follow the link below to their Facebook page, Like, and help do your part to support our veterans.  

Two Men and a Truck: Movers for Military!


Introducing our new Back Bay Mission App!

By | Announcements

Now you will be able to keep up with everything happening at Back Bay Mission, all from the comfort of your mobile device. Simply download the App, and explore all the features, such as News, Events, Photos, Changing Tides, Reports and more!

Download Instructions:

To download the app, you can go to the Apple Store or Google Play and search for the free Church App. The icon will appear with a phone and leaf on a blue background as shown above. Once you have the app loaded, you can search for Back Bay Mission. Upon selecting Back Bay Mission, it should ask you if you would like to update to the Back Bay Mission App Icon. (Unless you have an older model phone) By selecting yes, you will have an easier time recognizing the app on your phone screen in the future.


Back Bay Mission Prepares for Hurricane Gordon

By | Uncategorized

Back Bay Mission will close at 2:00 pm today due to Hurricane Gordon.  Back Bay Mission will stay closed until it is determined safe for staff to return. 

Harrison County Shelters:  County Farm Road 361 Shelter will open at 3 pm Tuesday, September 4. The shelter is located at 15038 County Farm Road.   The CTA bus station in downtown Biloxi will be open from 4:00 pm until 5:30 pm to offer rides to the shelter to those in need.  You are urged to be at the CTA building no later than 4:00 pm.  

Additional shelters:


For additional information please check our local media sources:


Inclement Weather

Those in the cities who are affected can contact your local police department.  

Week Nine: Greatful. A Journal Entry by Social Justice Intern Ashlee Beaver

By | Internships

              As time is winding down, it is getting harder and harder to believe that I will be heading back to Ohio so soon. These have been the fastest 9 weeks of my life, and I have Back Bay Mission to thank for that. For this week, I want to talk about a success story that I had to privilege to witness over the past 9 weeks.

               From my very first day here, there was one client that automatically became one of my friends. She came up to me, introduced herself, and gave me something of a “scope” of all the clients that were in the Day Center. She was nothing but friendly, and kind, and extremely independent.

                As time went on, and I continued talking to her, she began telling me that she was in line for an apartment, but she didn’t know if she was going to take it. It didn’t make much sense to me why someone would refuse to accept housing, but in her case, there were a lot of underlying issues that I had no idea about.

                Anyhow, over the past couple weeks, I had seen her more on the phone with her case manager and I had also seen her case manager in the Day Center (which was not usual). She told me that she had decided to take the apartment, and that she was moving in as soon as it was ready.

                At the end of this week, I got a phone call when I was in the Day Center and it was this woman’s case manager, she told me that her apartment was ready, and she was on her way to pick her up.

                It was only a matter of minutes before she came to get her, and when she did, you could see the excitedness through this woman’s eyes. She gave us all hugs and thanked us all for everything we had done.

                I haven’t seen her since this day, and I guess that is a good thing. It was just the cherry on the top of this experience to actually see a success story first-hand. Back Bay Mission really does help do God’s work, and I am forever grateful for being able to be a part of 10 weeks of it.

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