MAE and Jackson outreach ministry unite to offer protection and nourishment to inner city residents

Published: Mar. 9, 2022 at 7:02 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Educators and an outreach ministry are working together to offer protection and nourishment to the less fortunate in Jackson’s inner city.

Wednesday, MAE looked in their backyard to find CareCenter Ministries as a source for their mask give away. While the pandemic may be subsiding, hardships persist.

“I’m on disability. I’ve had 11 back surgeries,” said Rhonda Abshire of Jackson.

The 54-year-old is one of the hundreds receiving food boxes from Hilltop Church and CareCenter Ministries. Despite declining COVID cases, she and others in the Capital City still look to the outreach ministry for help.

“People aren’t working and people are desperate, and they need help,” said Abshire. “It’s very important because I’m going through a divorce and I’m single now and very low income. And it’s very much needed, and they’re wonderful people here.”

As Abshire and others make their way through the line, across the street the Mississippi Association of Educators is waiting to offer them free masks.

“We’ve heard from the community members that they have had a hard time obtaining N95 masks,” said MAE president Erica Jones. “We were grateful to receive over 30,000 from Harvard University. So we’re just doing what we need to do to help keep our community safe as the numbers go down.”

“Knowing they’re right across the street from us, we’ve been serving each other hand and foot,” said Hilltop Church and CareCenter Ministries Pastor Daniel Awabdy.

He was happy to work with MAE to help those they serve with more resources. He’s seen little improvement in living conditions since our visit in January.

“The need is still here. Jackson is an underserved community. It’s a food desert here,” said Awabdy. “So there’s a lot of families in need for food, but the bigger thing is they need a spiritual need. So this food is just an open door to cling to the families.”

The Mississippi Association of Educators and the CareCenter want efforts like these to bring residents, protection, hope and strength. MAE represents more than 6,000 teachers statewide.

Each Wednesday, the CareCenter provides 8,000 to 15,000 pounds of food to the needy in Jackson. Sam’s Club donates 2,000-10,000 pounds of food each week. Costco provides 2,000 pounds weekly.

The Mississippi Food Network also supplies food for the giveaways.

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