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Back Bay Mission

How Hurricane Preparations Work at Back Bay Mission

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On October 7, Hurricane Nate made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. While it wasn’t a severe hurricane, Back Bay Mission took the same precautions we take every time a hurricane is approaching our community. Since this wasn’t our first hurricane — and it certainly won’t be our last — we thought we’d share those precautions with you.

There are some things that we do all the time to make sure we’re ready when a hurricane is on its way:

  • We make sure that information our computers is backed up (or always living in the cloud)
  • We make sure that members of our staff and board have each other’s contact information
  • We keep records of our inventory and property
  • We make sure that we have the tools and equipment we’ll need, and that it’s in good shape and working condition
  • We make sure that the people we serve have hurricane evacuation information

There are some things we do when a hurricane is on its way:

  • We keep any volunteers who are staying — or who are on their way — with us informed and safe
  • We keep our constituents in the United Church of Christ and around the country informed via our website, social media channels, email, and other methods of communication
  • We prepare the buildings by fastening hurricane shutters, installing plywood over windows, placing sandbags, and so on
  • We protect Mission property by moving vehicles to higher ground (and making sure they have gas), bagging computers, depositing any money we have, securing and storing items, and so on
  • We communicate with our clients in Home At Last, HomePort, and the Micah Day Center about the hurricane and implement their safety plans
  • We contact other service providers and the Red Cross to make sure that plans are in place and to communicate important information to the people we serve
  • If it’s a category 3 hurricane or higher, we stockpile water and other necessities
  • If we’re evacuating, staff members make sure their supervisor knows their plans

And, of course, there are some things we do once the hurricane has passed:

  • We make sure everyone is informed about our status (usually by email, the website, and social media)
  • We undo all of the preparations we did with our buildings and property
  • We get back to work, checking in with the people we serve and making sure everyone is okay

While we can never predict what will happen in a hurricane, and while it obviously takes a lot more work to recover from a major hurricane than a ‘minor’ one, we take every precaution possible to ensure that Back Bay Mission can continue to serve the poor and marginalized even in the aftermath of a severe hurricane.

Notes from Bridges out of Poverty: Shy, Scared, and Broke

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Our current Bridges Out of Poverty participants have agreed to share some pieces they wrote about their lives before and during the Bridges Out of Poverty classes. We’re sharing them with in a series of posts. We’ve put the originals below as images, and typed them out (as close to verbatim as possible) below that.

I came into Bridges shy scared and broke. And Bridges really helping me by given me courage of strength and power and helps me in getting to know people and resources to help me build my strength and courage and brought me out of being shy. I have learned how to talk and work with people on the same income or less. And I’m learning how to save money.

Like all of the programs at Back Bay Mission, Bridges Out of Poverty can only continue with your support. Please take a moment to learn about our Client Sustainability Campaign, which supports Bridges Out of Poverty and other key Mission programs, and make your gift today.

Notes from Bridges out of Poverty: Attending Faithfully and Loving It

By | Bridges Out of Poverty | No Comments

Our current Bridges Out of Poverty participants have agreed to share some pieces they wrote about their lives before and during the Bridges Out of Poverty classes. We’re sharing them with in a series of posts. We’ve put the originals below as images, and typed them out (as close to verbatim as possible) below that.

Before I started bridges I was very closed minded, judgmental, straight out didn’t have a clue to where I was going in life just living without direction hoping to accomplishing something. Now I’m attending Bridges faithfully and I love it. I leave one session eagerly looking forward to the next. I absolutely love Bridges and I’ll forever try to enlighten people everywhere I go.

Like all of the programs at Back Bay Mission, Bridges Out of Poverty can only continue with your support. Please take a moment to learn about our Client Sustainability Campaign, which supports Bridges Out of Poverty and other key Mission programs, and make your gift today.

Notes from Bridges out of Poverty: I’ve Regained the Old Me Back

By | Bridges Out of Poverty

Our current Bridges Out of Poverty participants have agreed to share some pieces they wrote about their lives before and during the Bridges Out of Poverty classes. We’re sharing them with in a series of posts. We’ve put the originals below as images, and typed them out (as close to verbatim as possible) below that.

Before starting Bridges my life was very different. My self esteem was extremely lower than now. I west through a lot of depression moments. At the point where I blocked my husband and kids out.

Now while being in Bridges I’ve regained that old me back. Motivated to look for work, I just wish someone will hire me. My goal is to take care of my families with having no worries about where the next meal will come from. My husband works, by the time all the bills get paid, we don’t have enough for savings.

My girls talk to me now. I’m so glad we have a better relationship. My husband and I also communicate more. There is still a little stress but not as much so therefore I unblocked myself from my family. We are working getting our credit strait to get this new house that I claim in the name of Jesus. I’m working on my do’s and don’ts. Started a daily schedule so I won’t spend too much time watching t.v. and eating. My dream are to be able to supply for my babies and get them in the best colleges out there. Last but not least get out of poverty.

Like all of the programs at Back Bay Mission, Bridges Out of Poverty can only continue with your support. Please take a moment to learn about our Client Sustainability Campaign, which supports Bridges Out of Poverty and other key Mission programs, and make your gift today.

Notes from Bridges out of Poverty: Being Dependent on Myself Is My Motto

By | Bridges Out of Poverty

Our current Bridges Out of Poverty participants have agreed to share some pieces they wrote about their lives before and during the Bridges Out of Poverty classes. We’re sharing them with in a series of posts. We’ve put the originals below as images, and typed them out (as close to verbatim as possible) below that.

I’m 28 yrs old. I’ve been on my own since I was 18 yrs old. I’m a very kindful and outgoing person. I have a family I call my own, being dependent on myself is my motto.

That’s all I knew up onto 5-6 yrs ago, when I helped the wrong person. I was forced to be put out my own home I worked so hard to earn, thinking I had a friend to call my own, I beat myself up for years about this. Then I found a away to manage. No I feel that I let myself down and my family.

I’m currently in the process of moving. Don’t know which way to go, but I refuse to give up AGAIN. My children look up to 2 me, I can’t take them thru that again. I look at life as a challenge. I forgot about faith but came to reality that that’s all I have. I don’t too much fool w/ my own family, that’s why I am not going to show my children that route, I refuse to raise my kids up in this devilish world as they need to depend on this, NOT I.

I’m very educated, currently employed, awaiting my time to shine. Seems as tho every time I see a lighting, something blocks me, but I maneuver. I’ve been here before, maybe lower, but I will rise. I honestly don’t have friends, I hold a lot in. At some point I see an explosion, but I carry on.

Like all of the programs at Back Bay Mission, Bridges Out of Poverty can only continue with your support. Please take a moment to learn about our Client Sustainability Campaign, which supports Bridges Out of Poverty and other key Mission programs, and make your gift today.

2017 Musicians with a Mission

By | Events

On Thursday, September 28, 2017, Back Bay Mission celebrated 95 years of service at its annual Musicians with a Mission fundraiser at Hard Rock Live in Biloxi. The evening featured a traditional Back Bay Mission shrimp boil, music by the Blackwater Brass, and a silent auction. Proceeds from the event went to support the Mission’s client sustainability campaign.

The evening also featured short presentations by Rev. David and Mrs. Karlyn Stephens. Rev. Stephens is a former executive director of the Mission. Mrs. Stephens was on staff, first as administrative assistant, secretary, bookkeeper, and caseworker, and later as an associate director. While they were initially sent to close a Mission that was in dire financial straits, together, they rebuilt the Mission into a social services powerhouse on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Among their accomplishments were starting Coastal Family Health and beginning the tradition of shrimp boils in the United Church of Christ.

Rev. and Mrs. Stephens shared stories of their time at Back Bay Mission.

Our deep gratitude to everyone who made this evening possible.

Scenes from God’s Green Acre

By | God's Green Acre

Back Bay Mission’s community garden, God’s Green Acre, is a great place to see things grow. Not just the vegetable, of course, but the gardeners who tend them. Recently, our gardeners held a work day to harvest the vegetables they had grown. We saw two amazing things that day: their generous spirit and their progress towards self-sustainability.

The gardeners hesitated to pick the vegetables. The Master Gardeners who work with them had to explain that the plants would stop producing and die if they weren’t harvested. But the gardeners thought that someone else might need the food more than they did. They didn’t want to take all of the vegetables because someone else might need them more!

At the end of the day, everything was harvested. The gardeners split the vegetables into bags for each gardener to take home… plus one bag for a staff member to deliver to a gardener who was at home with a sick child. When the staff member delivered those vegetables, the gardener declined them. Then she showed the staff member her backyard, where she had planted her own garden full of the vegetables she had been taught to grow in God’s Green Acre. Not only did she show a generous spirit, she showed us that the is making progress on her journey to self-sustainability.

This is the work that God’s Green Acre and the other ministries of Back Bay Mission do every day. 

Statement on Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

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Over the last several weeks, we at Back Bay Mission have watched as our friends and neighbors have been pummeled by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. These include people in Texas and Florida, as well as Louisiana, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and other parts of the United States, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Our hearts are broken by the heavy losses that people have suffered, and we are praying for everyone who has been affected by these storms.

As residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, a place that was all but forgotten in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, we know first-hand that every natural disaster is also a human disaster. People have and will lose their savings, their homes, their possessions, their jobs, and their lives. And the poor and marginalized will bear the costs of these storms disproportionately. Not just today but in the years to come.

We also know that recovery time is not measured in weeks or months. It is measured in years. The people and communities affected by these hurricanes need our care. Harvey and Irma are tests of our nation’s willingness to provide long-term support for people impacted by a communal disaster.

At Back Bay Mission, we stand in solidarity with our friends and neighbors in the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, and anywhere else that must endure disasters like Harvey and Irma. We stand in solidarity especially with the poor, marginalized, and forgotten… the people who won’t be seen on news broadcasts or mentioned in reports, but who will suffer the harshest effects of these storms.

As a community ministry of the United Church of Christ, we hope that you will help the people affected by these hurricanes through a gift to our friends at the United Church of Christ’s Disaster Ministries (in addition to your regular gift to Back Bay Mission). They supported us for years after Hurricane Katrina, and they will be in Houston, Florida, and other places for years after the news trucks and emergency management teams leave.

Together, we can love the communities affected by these storms back to life. We can strengthen neighborhoods, seek justice, and transform lives not only on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, but everywhere that there is need.  

Musicians with a Mission is Coming!

By | Events

It’s almost time for Musicians with a Mission 2017! Join us for a festive shrimp boil, music by the Blackwater Brass, a silent auction, and more. Your ticket purchase will go to support our client sustainability campaign and help people begin their journey out of poverty.

Our featured band for the evening, Blackwater Brass is an Ocean Springs, Mississippi, based ten piece funk and jazz band. They’re heavily influenced by New Orleans style funk mainstays like The Meters, Galactic, and Dirty Dozen Brass Band, but regularly drop in hints from many genres across the spectrum from gospel to EDM as well as a mix of fun pop covers throughout a performance.

Learn more (and listen to them) here.

Back Bay Mission’s client sustainability programs help people begin their journeys out of poverty.

Bridges out of Poverty helps people move out of poverty through an evidence-based curriculum that includes mentoring. A 16-week class helps participants create plans and strategies what will help them achieve their goals. During and after that class, participants receive mentoring from community members as well as ongoing support from Mission staff.

Community health initiatives help people be good stewards of their health. Through classes and activities, participants learn about common health problems and how to prevent them. Through case management, people with health problems are supported through their illness. Together, these initiatives address the barriers caused by poor health, make our community healthier, and position our neighbors for sustainability.

The veterans support fund gives immediate help to veterans who hit a bump on the road to self-sustainability. This fund helps veterans fix their cars, buy clothes for job interviews, and overcome other obstacles on the way to a better life.

Join us on September 28, 2017, from 5:30pm to 8:30pm at Hard Rock Live in Biloxi! Buy your tickets online or by calling us at 228-432-0301.

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