Page 12 - South Mississippi Living - November, 2022
P. 12

The Ayres Home.
The Walsh Home.
    story by Lynn Lofton
  photos courtesy of the Gulfport Civic League
For 75 years the Gulfport Civic League has been improving the quality of life in Gulfport. The group was formed in 1947 by 18 civic-minded women who came together to staff a polio clinic by checking in patients, assisting the staff and providing activities to entertain children while they waited.
Their outreach has broadened through the years and membership has grown to 35. Current President Darlene Warren says the organization has endured because it continues to embrace needs in the community. “Strong women came together and were energized and they continue to step up to meet challenges.”
A focus on helping children and special needs individuals has been a mainstay of the Civic League. “For example, years ago a member who was a teacher knew that many children had to wake themselves up for school,” member Diane Miller said. “She asked the Civic League to provide alarm clocks. So sometimes it's something that simple.”
And their projects can be as big as donating handicap accessibility for two splash pads and a handicap launch for boat access in Gulfport. “The projects are far reaching,” member Melanie Clark said. “We're ongoing contributors to numerous programs.”
The Vincent Home.
Among their many community projects are the Backpack Buddy program which provides food for children during weekends; collecting items for the Women's Shelter; assisting the Salvation Army; and working with the Harrison County Shelter for Children.
The Civic League's only fundraiser is the annual Christmas Tour of Homes. It has been held every year since 1959 except the years following Hurricanes Camille and Katrina and in 2020 due to the pandemic.
This year's tour is on Sunday, December 4, from 2 until
5 p.m., chairman Rhoda Ryland announced. Picturesque homes along Gulfport's Second Street to be toured include those of Ryan and Roy Anderson; Janice and Robert Ayres; Crystal and Jesse Vincent; and Sarah and J.R. Walsh. The chapel at Centennial Plaza will be the tea house. Visitors are asked to enter by the Second Street entrance.
Donations of $20 are requested. Tickets are available from all members, at each house on the tour, or by calling 228.297.6204 or 832.341.2565.
12 | November 2022 | SOUTH MISSISSIPPI Living

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