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Meridian Summer 2017 Update

June 8, the Meridian Affiliate had some serious burgers and dogs at our first Burgers at Bonita Lakes event. Bonita Lakes is a city park with three lakes, nature trails, a walking track and more.

Bonita Lakes/Wikimedia Commons

During the cookout, we raised awareness that NAMI National, NAMI Mississippi, and NAMI Meridian existed. We also raised awareness that we are here to help those affected by mental illness.

Although the cookout was well advertised, it soon became obvious that someone needed to do something quickly to drum up some business so we made makeshift signs that said, “Free Food.”

Walkers and people riding by in their vehicles began to trickle in, but not just for the free food. Once we began to share who we were as an organization, the stories trickled out as well. Folks needed help, guidance, direction, and hope, and I think we were successful in providing those things to them.

The cookout was also being used as a recruitment tool for new members, and it was a time for current and past members to mingle. We sold tickets to last-minute buyers for our Grillin’ & Chillin’ raffle. Becky Jordan’s ticket was pulled as the winning ticket, so she won a two-burner gas grill, a four-blade ceiling fan, and accessories to go with both prizes.

She was very excited to have won, and was able to share with me a little of her story when she came to pick up her winnings.

Overall, we had approximately 100 people – from babies to folks from the greatest generation – join us for a beautiful afternoon full of fun, yet serious conversation.

Our affiliate couldn’t have asked for a better time. Thank you to all who made Burgers at Bonita Lakes a success by volunteering, or by donating food and prizes. Also, thank you to all who supported our efforts in making a difference, whether it be by saying a prayer for good weather or offering encouragement to go on. It has all paid off.

Special thanks to the following event supporters:

  • Bimbo Bakeries USA
  • Vowell’s Marketplace
  • Zero’s 4-Way Pit Stop
  • Quitman’s Southern Market
  • Lowe’s Home Improvement
  • Marvin’s Building Materials

– Jill R. Walsh, Secretary

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