JA wants to fill your belly with shrimp

Published 1:29 am Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mark April 12 on your calendars for the 12th annual Junior Auxiliary Shrimp Boil.

Junior Auxiliary of Natchez has served our community’s children since 1949 and it is fitting that the annual shrimp boil is scheduled during National JA Week. The shrimp boil will be at the Junior Auxiliary Canteen in Duncan Park from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 12. Tickets must be purchased in advance from any JA member and also from Natchez Rehab in Tracetown shopping center. Each plate — delivered to your vehicle — includes one pound of delicious boiled shrimp, corn and potatoes.

The tickets cost $12 and 100 percent of the proceeds go to Junior Auxiliary to fund our many projects.

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Over the past 57 years, Junior Auxiliary, an all volunteer organization, has hosted many events for the children of our community. In the early days, Junior Auxiliary members volunteered their time to staff a nursery for underprivileged children. In a small dependency for Auburn, Junior Auxiliary members served the children breakfast in the mornings and had a playschool where they taught the children about basic hygiene and self-esteem, and also provided clothes and toys like tricycles.

After a good lunch, they took the children back home by carpool in the member’s station wagons. Later, the small Auburn dependency was expanded to what we now know as the “Canteen.”

It was here that Junior Auxiliary hosted the “Teen Canteen” for many years, providing a safe place for area teens to dance and have fun. The chapter supported a Crown Club at the local high school, instilling a spirit of volunteerism and pride in young ladies. Over the years JA members have hosted dances and charity balls, helped with parades, provided services to local schools including courses in “meology,” hearing and vision screenings and more.

Over the years some of our projects have changed and some have lasted decades and are cherished by members, such as Camp Sunshine, which is a week-long summer day camp for the students of Pleasant Acre in which the participants enjoy physical exercise and arts crafts projects. JA is a Partner in Education with West Primary. In honor of JA week, West Primary students are participating in a coloring contest which displays the connection between West and JA.

Members of the Natchez Junior Auxiliary contribute to West Primary’s annual pennies for books, collect Boxtops for education and help with school events.

Other special projects include the Sunshine Shelter and Guardian Shelter, providing assistance to individual families in need, providing back-to-school supplies to area public schools, hosting an Angel Tree which benefits Catholic Charities, DHS and CASA. JA also sponsors scholarships for area seniors.

JA of Natchez is part of the National Association of Junior Auxiliaries and our projects are designed to keep with our national slogan of Care Today, Character Tomorrow. On a national level there are 14,480 women serving their communities and over 108,114 service hours have been contributed to their communities in 2007. Junior Auxiliary service projects require not only the volunteer time and energy from our members, but also require strong community support.

Please help us celebrate National Junior Auxiliary Week and help us to continue these services by purchasing tickets from a Junior Auxiliary member today. The annual Shrimp Boil is our largest fundraiser and you can be assured that 100 percent your funds will go to help children in our area.

Additional donations, memorials, or honorariums may be mailed to Junior Auxiliary of Natchez, P.O. Box 1592, Natchez, MS, 39121. Please remember to include complete mailing addresses so that we may correctly forward the acknowledgment and gift cards. The chapter is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a Charitable 501(c)(3) organization. Donations made to the Junior Auxiliary of Natchez, MS, Inc. are tax-deductible.

Trish Stoll is a member of Junior Auxiliary.