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Mardi Gras Madness: Party with a Purpose

Water Saints of all ages take part in our Mardi Gras Madness fundraiser! We have a special meal for our young ones, and they take part in a parade.

Who would have thought 13 years ago when our church began our Mardi Gras Madness clean water fundraiser that over the years we would raise enough money to fund several water partnerships in Cuba, provide scholarships for international students to attend Clean Water U training, train 11 of our own members to be water team leaders, join and support other water teams with their partnerships in Haiti and Nicaragua, and send tithes to Living Waters for the World as well? Our church, First Presbyterian of Greenville, Mississippi, believed it!

What is Mardi Gras Madness?

It’s a party with a purpose! For one evening each year, right around Mardi Gras, our fellowship hall is transformed into a New Orleans restaurant, complete with Mardi Gras decorations, live jazz, and an amazing Cajun meal - grits & grillades, garlic bread, salad, and bananas foster or bread pudding for dessert. We sell dinner tickets for $15 each and cook for 450-500 people from across our community who come out to support a great cause - clean water for all God’s children!

Everyone in our church takes part - from the youngest disciples to the oldest. We donate books and knickknacks from around the house. We cook, bake, pickle, paint, and throw pots. We ask area artists and businesses to donate silent auction items. We also have a model water system and hold a “Buy a Part, Be a Part” table where everyone is invited to be a part of sending a water system to Cuba. All the proceeds go to support our water partnerships there.

Our "Buy a Part, Be a Part" display brought $2,000 for our clean water partnership! We are happy to share our plan for how we set up this display.

This year, the women of our church prepared so many frozen meals that we had to get an additional freezer to hold them all in our “First Pres Freezer” room. The men of the church served up the delicious meal with a smile and cleared the dishes to make room for all our neighbors far and wide who turn out each year to attend what has become a much anticipated community event.

2018 Chair Docia England gets some help setting up the day before the big event from Judy Reed who came up with the idea for Mardi Gras Madness 14 years ago!

This year’s Mardi Gras Madness ended up topping all others. At the end of the night, our church had raised $20,331.76! To date we have raised $168,000. We are grateful to all who have served as chairs these last 13 years and all those who have served, from stirring grits to making pottery and everything in between. Docia England, this year’s chair said it best: We are truly at our best when we work together with God’s help!

Kevin and Judy in the kitchen getting the grillades just right!

If you would like to learn more about Mardi Gras Madness (or you’d like the recipe for grits and grillades), contact Kendall Cox or better yet, come to the Sharing Summit this summer where we will be discussing fundraising ideas!

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