Homes of Hope for Children will host its annual Silent & Live Auction at 5 p.m. Aug. 12 at Southern Oaks in Hattiesburg. Proceeds from the event are devoted to the direct care of children living on the ever-growing campus located in Purvis.
This year’s auction is sure to be a crowd pleaser with items for home and garden, sports and leisure, health and beauty, as well as date night and kids packages. Don’t forget your sweet tooth, because you can also bid on your favorite cakes and pies to take home with you that evening.
Southern Oaks will be serving a delicious menu of hors d'oeuvres and confections, and the Pine Belt Pickers will be playing live music to entertain shoppers. There will be unique raffle opportunities throughout the evening, and, as always, a chance to make a difference for the children who live at Homes of Hope for Children.
Homes of Hope for Children is a vision that began to take shape more than 30 years ago when Executive Director Michael Garrett entered the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home at the age of 11 along with his two sisters. Originally from Louisiana, Garrett’s family moved back and forth between his mother’s family in Louisiana and his dad in Alabama during the early years of his life.
During that time, Garrett, along with his mother and his sisters, bore the brunt of an alcoholic and abusive father. Fearing for her children’s safety, Garrett’s mother separated from his father. Shortly thereafter, she became ill and was forced to place her children into foster care. They were placed in separate foster homes where Garrett continued to be abused. While in foster care, the only contact he had with his siblings was when he managed to pass them in the halls or lunchroom at school.
After a year, Garrett’s mother was able to take her children out of foster care but struggled physically and financially. So, she made the difficult decision to bring her children to the Louisiana Baptist Children’s Home in Monroe for what was intended to be a temporary stay.
A chance meeting with a young boy, Curtis, at a camp where Garrett was working maintenance once summer reiterated to Garrett that Curtis was living Garrett’s foster care nightmare.
Broken, and feeling powerless to change Curtis’ situation, Garrett answered God’s call to serve in children’s home ministry. While working on his degrees, Garrett began to formulate a plan for what he felt God was putting on his heart to do – A debt-free ministry that did not depend on state or federal funds, that allowed the ministry to serve those they felt needed services, and a continuing ministry that offered a transitional program for those who aged out of the system as long as they were working toward goals and following programs outlined for them.
A call from a friend in Mississippi asking Garrett to serve on the board of an organization trying to help at-risk children in the area brought him to Mississippi and the Pine Belt.
He was shocked by the staggering statistics he found concerning children in the state. After meeting with the board of directors and advising them, they decided that Garrett and his vision was what the ministry needed. Because of the extreme need in this area, he decided he could not ignore it. So, in June 2006, Garrett and his wife, Julie, moved with his one-year-old son to Hattiesburg to get to work helping Mississippi’s children.
He, alongside a small board of advisors, began a grassroots effort to make his vision a reality for the kids in Mississippi. In March 2007, 42 acres of land in Purvis were located, and Homes of Hope for Children put down a $15,000 deposit with a prayer that they could raise the remaining $215,000 in four months. They succeeded and a dream was born.
Today, the bustling campus is home to 19 children. The Hope Haven Cottage is home to seven girls, Dearman and Fenton Cottages is each home to six boys, and a fourth cottage is under construction.
With so many kids to serve, and more to soon arrive on campus, the needs at Homes of Hope for Children are growing. Every ticket purchased and every item sold at the Annual Silent & Live Auction has a direct impact on their lives.
To purchase tickets for the Silent & Live Auction, visit hohfc.org. For more information or to become a sponsor, call 769.456.7021. Make their home your mission today.