President Jaclyn Adams presided over the meeting. Thanks to Gene Owens who gave the invocation and to Phillip Carter who led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Thanks also to Mary Ariail and Samantha McCain who served as our greeters today.
Tracie Fowler recognized our visitors and visiting Rotarian. Jerry Buti is visiting from the Sunrise Club. Buddy Graves is a guest of Bill McLeod.
Jaclyn congratulated Brandon Hodges and his wife Stacy on the birth of their new daughter, Ava Marie. She also reminded members of the upcoming District Conference, May 19 – 21. The conference will be held in Mobile, AL with the Food Fest occurring on the grounds of the USS Alabama.
Our club received two thank you letters today. One was for our $500 gift to the Pine Belt Community Foundation in support of storm relief. We also received a thank you letter from Dr. Tommy King, William Carey University for our efforts in assisting the university and their students recover from the January tornado.
Lynn Walton presented a door prize to Faye Gilbert who was the first Rotarian to sell all four of her 50/50 raffle tickets. Gene Owens also received a door prize for selling eight tickets.  Ticket sales are not mandatory but every Rotarian is being asked to sell four $100 tickets for a 50/50 raffle. The proceeds will replenish the club’s reserves for the coming year. The raffle drawing will take place on June 27th.
The final 100 hours of service project for our club is scheduled for April 6th when our club will read to 100 students at Hawkins Elementary. A few reading slots are open and every club member is invited to participate. Let Jaclyn know if you can read.
Jaclyn then introduced today’s guest speaker, our own Jennifer Payne. Jennifer came to share information about Camellia Ministries and more specifically Camp Camellia.
Camellia Ministries began back in 2007 with Camellia Basics. Hospice employees identified a number of needs that patients and families encountered during their treatment period. Some needed ramps, some needed assistance with medicine purchases and some needed help keeping their utilities connected. In 2011 home health care patients were added to the list of candidates who could be assisted.
Today Camellia Ministries provides between $22 and $25 thousand dollars each year in assistance to 70 or more families. The average grant is about $375.
In addition to Camellia Basics, Camellia Cares was created. This branch of Camellia Ministries exists to help Camellia employees who find themselves in need of assistance. Some are impacted by fires, by natural disasters and a variety of other events that leave them in need of assistance.
Camp Camellia was established just a few year ago. It is a non-profit children’s bereavement camp offered to families who have experienced the loss of a loved one. The camp is open to children ages 6 – 14 and it is totally free. It is a weekend camp located in Hattiesburg offering bereavement counseling, supervised swimming, hiking, pottery making, arts and crafts, story telling and a variety of other events and activities. The camp’s goal is to give the children an opportunity to express their feelings of loss and gain the support of their peers through specialized activities.
Jennifer notes that 11% of children across the country are being raised by grandparents. That number rises to 22% here in Mississippi. That’s one reason she says the camp is full every year.
This year’s camp dates are June 30 – July 2. The registration deadline is June 15. Applications can be mailed to Camellia Ministries, Attn: Camp Camellia, P.O. box 1267, Hattiesburg, MS 39403-1267. You can call 601-544-2900 for more information or visit their website at There are still vacancies for this year’s camp.
Many thanks to Jennifer for sharing with us information on Camellia Ministries and Camp Camellia. 
With no other business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned by Jaclyn with our motto, “Service Above Self”.