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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.

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.  

Back Bay Mission: Strengthening Neighborhoods, Seeking Justice, Transforming Lives.

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Back Bay Mission in Biloxi Mississippi has been a lasting source of hope and help for thousands of children, adults and families along the Mississippi Gulf Coast since 1922.  As one of the oldest and most highly respected organizations within the United Church of Christ and on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Back Bay Mission continues its journey of providing innovative solutions and compassionate responses to those suffering at the hands of social injustice. Its Mission Trip program provides hands-on service learning experiences for hundreds of volunteers from across the nation.

Back Bay Mission’s Board of Directors met May 5-6 in Biloxi and elected officers for 2017-18.  President, Matt Williams; Vice-President Jasmine Quinerly; Secretary Wil Brown; Treasurer Brent Johnson. Elected to the Class of 2020 are: Jasmine Quinerly (TX); Crystal Allen (OH); Joyce Bathke (MO); Rosa Smith Williams (NC).

Photo.  Back Bay Mission Board of Directors and Staff May 2017.

L-R: Kenny Washington, Director of Client Services; Shawn Sullivan, CFO; Brent Johnson (MS); Mary Ruth (TN); Scott Martin (TX); Liz Nash (TX); Alice Graham, Executive Director; Carol Merriman (WI); John Magee (MO); Wil Brown (TX); Bob Brautigam (IL); Charles Graham (MS).

Directors absent from photo: Crystal Allen (OH) photographer; Jasmine Quinerly (TX), Matt Crebbin (CT); Don Longbottom (TX); Matt Williams (MS); Jesse Chambers (MS); Raymos McMillan (MS).

Scheduled Downtime

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The Back Bay Mission website will have scheduled downtime starting at about 9am on Monday, May 22, 2017. We will be making some major changes to the structure and layout of the site, and, hopefully, making it easier for you to use. We will have this work done as quickly as possible, but we do not know how long it will take. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Back Bay Mission’s Partnership with Goodwill

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Back Bay Mission spent a recent Tuesday afternoon volunteering at a local Goodwill retail store and learning about the ways that the Mission partners with Goodwill to provide help to the people we serve. You can see the photos of our afternoon at Goodwill here.

We thought we’d share more about how we work with our friends at Goodwill.

When Back Bay Mission receives clothing donations, we keep what we can in our own clothes closet. This is a small space, however, and we aren’t able to keep everything that is donated. We donate what we can’t keep to Goodwill.

When our clients need clothing that we don’t have in stock – for example, clothing for a job interview or for a child’s first day of school – we provide vouchers that can be used at a local Goodwill. Clients can use these vouchers to purchase up to $25 worth of clothing that they need… and $25 goes a long way at Goodwill.

In the future, we hope to partner with Goodwill on workforce development.

Back Bay Mission works in partnership with many organizations on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Together, we’re strengthening neighborhoods, seeking justice, and transforming lives!

Scheduled Downtime

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The Back Bay Mission website will be unavailable on Monday, March 13th, while we perform some routine maintenance. We plan for the maintenance to begin between 9 and 9:30am on Monday. We do not know how long the website will be down, but hope that it will be up again quickly.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Church Relations Associate Christopher Marlin-Warfield Consecrated as Diakonal Minister

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Our congratulations to Church Relations Associate Christopher Marlin-Warfield, who was consecrated as a diakonal minister last weekend! Diakonal ministry is a special designation granted by the United Church of Christ’s Council for Health and Human Services Ministries (CHHSM) and characterized by a call and commitment to servant leadership.

CHHSM’s diakonal ministers carry on a legacy found in the United Church of Christ’s – and its predecessor denominations’ – commitment to care for the poor, sick, and disabled. Diakonal ministers have served in hospitals, orphanages, homes for the aging, and other ministries of the United Church of Christ for generations.

CHHSM requires a yearlong preparatory program for diakonal ministers: the Nollau Institute. Led by a core team of four faculty members, the Nollau Institute draws upon the best in adult education and leadership training to invite participants into certain practices and disciplines in the context of a community of leaders who encourage and hold each participant accountable. The Institute is named after Louis Edward Nollau, a 19th century missionary, preacher and founder of several St. Louis-area CHHSM ministries. The Institute emphasizes the kind of integrated leadership that its namesake modeled: professional excellence rooted in faith-based purpose.

Congratulations, Chris!

Thank You

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Thank you.

Thank you for being part of Back Bay Mission. Thank you for giving. Thank you for volunteering. Thank you for sharing.

Thank you for liking us on Facebook. Thank you for following us on Twitter. Thank you for joining us on Google+. Thank you for connecting with us on LinkedIn. Thank you for looking at our photos on Instagram. Thank you for watching our videos on YouTube.

Thank you for opening our emails. Thank you for visiting our website. Thank you for sharing our posts. Thank you for reading The Changing Tides.

Most of all, thank you for strengthening neighborhoods, seeking justice, and transforming lives.

Thank you.

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