Thursday, May 20, 2010
Group works with at-risk children, seeks assistance
By SUE WATSON
There are a few good people in Byhalia who are on a mission to help children who are at risk due to any number of issues they face.
Gift of Life is a Christian ministry that counsels at-risk children and reaches out to help families. Some of the activities they report helping with are assisting children with their school work, supplying school supplies, helping obtain goods for families whose homes burn, assisting children who have been sexually assaulted, helping young men and women obtain a GED, and homeschooling.
Annie Stewart and Tynetta Gainer met with the Marshall County Board of Supervisors recently seeking a letter of support and financial assistance for their non-profit organization.
“I would like for every child to come to the center,” Stewart said. “Open your mind and hearts and wallets to help.”
The two women believe if they have the support of the county, the center will thrive. As it is, Stewart put all her retirement savings into the center, Gainer said. Gainer is a professional social worker.
“My job is to counsel with children and to reach parents,” Gainer said.
The group will seek grant monies to support their center.
Stewart provided some examples of how families come to them for help.
Some are homeless and there was an instance where a parent had to choose whether to pay the power bill and keep the lights on or to buy food for the three children.
“It’s hard for a single parent to choose between food and lights,” Stewart said.
The Gift of Life group has tried to start a food pantry in Byhalia, teaching children how to cook and working to help children reach their potential, she said.
The board provided a letter of endorsement to the Gift of Life Center although supervisors said they have no money. The letter acknowledged the service performed at the center.
Next up before the board were Bruce Willis and Tom Heard with the Natural Resources Conservation Services. They were invited by supervisor George Zinn to discuss what NRCS does to help with erosion caused by a single event, such as the washing out of culverts and roads by flood waters the first weekend in May.
NRCS will pay for stabilization of culverts that sustained partial damage from flood waters, Heard said. The programs provide from 75 percent to 85 percent of the cost to fix partial erosion problems.
Supervisors asked if NRCS would pay for work already done if the county produced photographs documenting damages. Most of the washouts have been repaired already.
Larry Hall, county administrator, said the county has 20 pipes to replace that traffic is still traveling over, but has already replaced many washed-out culverts because of safety issues.
Heard said jobs requiring a minimum of $15,000 are eligible and that they will consider projects that have already been repaired that may qualify for funds.
Bennett said the county needed help with big washouts but the NRCS program is for projects that need a band-aid.
Larger projects like repairs in the upper headwaters of Pigeon Roost or Coldwater River watersheds are handled by the U.S. Corps of Engineers.
Afterward, Hall listed several grants the county can seek – a trails construction or reconstruction project, a wastewater community facilities project, an energy audit, and a grant to help stabilize Mt. Carmel Road, now under construction in the Chickasaw Trail Industrial Park.
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