Mudbug 2016 Paves the Way for Rescue and Restoration
Crawfish, music, and spring mean it’s time for Palmer Home’s annual MudBug Bash in Hernando, Mississippi. Voted the #1 charity event by Desoto’s Best, MudBug kicks off Desoto’s spring party season on April 9, 2016. This year we’re welcoming MediPlan Diet Services as our title sponsor.
If you aren’t familiar with MudBug Bash, the festival started in 2004 just after Palmer Home completed construction on the new campus in Hernando. A group of local volunteers envisioned a fun-filled crawfish boil that would raise both funds and awareness for Palmer Home. Those volunteers did all the legwork by recruiting sponsors, promoting the event, convincing the city to close down a street just off the square, and handling the day-of details. Their work paid off with an inaugural attendance of 350 people.
Over the last 12 years, Palmer Home for Children’s staff has taken over organizing the event, with the help of a huge team of volunteers. Each year between 1,000 and 1,200 guests join us and 1200 pounds of crawfish for an exciting evening of food, dancing, and friends.
But it is April…in Mississippi…so we’ve had to make some concessions for unpredictable weather. This year’s event, like the last several years, will be covered by three large tents that protect our guests from the elements as they enjoy the evening. Our bands vary, along with our food vendors, but the one thing that never changes is the support for Palmer Home’s mission of rescuing and restoring the lives of hurting children.
Hernando Campus Growth
MudBug Bash was just the beginning for a whole new venture for Palmer Home. With over 100 years of caring for children behind us, we knew in order to serve more children, we had to expand into a second campus. With many donors in the Memphis area, we looked first to expand near them; however, for organizational reasons, it was helpful to stay within the state of Mississippi. After a little searching, Hernando was the clear answer to our dilemma, and in 2003 we opened the Hernando campus with three cottages.
As the dangers to children in our world have increased with drug abuse, sex trafficking and child neglect, the need for space to help more children has increased as well. Currently, Palmer Home’s Hernando Campus is set to begin construction on three new cottages which would double its housing capacity. At any given time, there are a minimum of 3-4 children on our waiting list for residential housing, so the continued expansion will meet a very real need.
We are grateful that funding for all three cottages has been pledged, and we are halfway to our goal of raising funds for a wellness center for the children and caregivers on the Hernando campus. Once the cottages are built, the need will shift from housing, to caregivers, who will live in those cottages and care for the children we are able to add.
And to think that it all began with a few crawfish, some determined volunteers and a mission to rescue and restore hurting children. Twelve years later, Desoto County has embraced our event and our mission, and the children are reaping the benefits each and every day.
*Robert Farris, Palmer Home’s Vice President of Rescue, contributed to this article. His 18 years of experience at Palmer Home are an invaluable resource.