By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – More than 700 people feasted on fried catfish and all the fixings Friday at JBHM Architect’s fifth annual fundraiser for the Northeast Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross.
The firm raised $7,784 through the luncheon and coinciding silent auction that ran from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on downtown’s Court Street.
That bested last year’s sum of more than $6,000.
Some people got their plates to go while others dined in the hot sun at tables set up outside. Many bid on the selection of silent-auction items donated by dozens of companies like MLM Clothiers, Room to Room and Swirlz.
“It’s been wonderful,” said Jennifer Harrelson with JBHM, who organizes the fundraiser each year. “We had 100 walk-ins and 600 pre-sold tickets. We’re hoping to have enough food for everyone.”
Romie’s catered the event, which was sponsored by Plan House Printing & Graphics, Haire Wealth Management Coca-Cola and Sprint Print.
“We have so many dedicated supporters who come every year,” said Red Cross Chapter Director Patty Tucker. “We could not do it without them.”
Among the regulars was Wayne Averett of Modern Woodman of America, who this year brought his wife, Sue Ann, and their daughter, Lydia, to enjoy a meal.
“I know a lot of work goes into it,” Averett said. “I enjoy the silent auction and catfish, of course, but also just being able to see friends that I usually don’t have a chance to catch up with.”
Last month the Northeast Mississippi Chapter of the American Red Cross served hundreds of meals to Gulf Coast victims of Hurricane Isaac. In Lee County, the organization responded to 302 house fires and provided families $275,000 in relief.
The Red Cross also helps deliver urgent messages to armed services personnel wherever they are. Last year through its worldwide network, the Northeast Mississippi chapter provided 306 emergency connections, informing military personnel from a 16-county area of births, deaths or illnesses in their families.