Meet Me at the Court is rolling full steam ahead with its 2023 events, and has announced plans for upcoming activities to continue serving the community.
The youth arm of MMC completed its monthly mission project on Feb. 2 by donating 200 canned goods to the Salvation Army of El Dorado's food pantry.
Two days later, MMC hosted its annual Black History Person and Youth of the Year Banquet, which celebrates Black history, heritage and culture by highlighting notable people, children and adults, who make an impact in El Dorado and Union County.
Bailey said approximately 127 people, including organizers, attended the banquet in the Parish Hall of St. Mary's Episcopal Church.
Two local youths, five adults and a social fraternity were honored this year in the areas of education, sports, business and community service.
Now MMC youth are gearing up to distribute personal protection equipment to local residents on Saturday.
Veronica Bailey, founder and CEO of MMC, said the group will head out into the community at 4 p.m., armed with PPE kits that were provided by another local nonprofit organization, who received the kits from the city of El Dorado.
The kits -- which contain face masks, liquid hand sanitizer, hand wash/soap and disinfectant, alcohol wipes -- are free to the public and are also available at City Hall and the city's recycling drop-off center, 401 Liberty St. (the corner of Liberty and Cordell Avenue).
City Hall is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday - Friday and the drop-off center is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday - Saturday.
People who would like to pick up a PPE kit may use the drive-through service at the recycling drop-off center.
Mayor Paul Choate particularly encouraged local churches, nonprofit organizations and other groups to collect and distribute the PPE kits in the community.
The free kits were acquired through federal government program, which will reimburse the city for the costs of the kits.
Former Mayor Veronica Smith-Creer initiated the city's participation in the program in 2022 and signed up again for 2023 prior to leaving office on Dec. 31.
Choate the city received approximately 4,000 kits this year.
Bailey said MMC youth members plan to hand out about 100 kits throughout the community on Saturday.
She also announced plans for the ninth annual Sharion Bailey Whitlock Proclamation Weekend, with activities scheduled for March 31 - April 3.
Bailey said the group will start on March 31 and April 1 by handing out free Easter baskets to children throughout the community.
On April 2, MMC will spend the day distributing dinner plates in El Dorado, saying that recipients will receive a plate with either BBQ or fried fish and all the fixings.
Rounding out the SBWPW on April 3 will be another MMC youth monthly mission project in honor of Bailey Whitlock's birthday.
Bailey Whitlock, Bailey's late sister, passed away in 2012 following an illness. She was 52.
Bailey said she started MMC in 2013 to honor her sister, who lived a life of serving others.
To celebrate Bailey Whitlock's birthday, MMC youth intend to donate another 200 canned goods to the Salvation Army food pantry and deliver "Love Baskets" filled with food to area residents on April 3.
In the fall of 2022, the group set a goal to donate 1,000 canned goods to the Salvation Army after hearing that its food pantry was running low due to increased demand amid inflation.
MMC exceeded its goal by delivering 1,223 canned goods and other non-perishable food items to the Salvation Army by Dec 31 and youth members agreed to donate 1,000 canned goods this year.
In addition to the Salvation Army donation in January, the group also delivered 73 "Love Baskets" filled with breakfast foods and fresh fruits and vegetables to residents in El Dorado, Smackover and Calion.
"We do this to honor Sharion's legacy. She loved to help people and I know this is what she would want me to do," said Bailey. "Her birthday was April 3 and we will do this again to celebrate her birthday."
For more information, call Bailey at 870-310-0391. For inquiries about the PPE kits, call the mayor's office at 870-862-7911.