What’s Working: WellsFest

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — A tradition more than 30 years in the making continues this Saturday at Jamie Fowler Park.

WellsFest bills itself as Jackson’s Original Music Festival and some of the state’s best bands will be on stage from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., but that’s only the beginning.

This year, proceeds will benefit Methodist Children’s Home. WellsFest has been a fun part of the Fall for 34 years now.

Brenda Ferguson is this year’s WellsFest Chairperson.

“It’s free admission,” she said. “It’s free parking. There are things for kids to do like face painting, pony rides, moon jumps, those at a nominal charge to do things like that.”

There is a very important reason why you need to have fun at WellsFest this year.

It’s a love gift to the community from Wells Methodist Church, and this year it just happens to be a Methodist agency that we chose,” she said.

That agency is Methodist Children’s home. As many as 30 young people, in Department of Human Services custody, can be cared for at a time on its sprawling Jackson campus.

Jerry Jackson is the Director of Residential Services at Methodist Children’s.

“We work very closely with them to provide a safe haven for children who have been removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect, other family problems,” he said.
There are three therapeutic group homes: two for girls and one for boys.

LaVonda Burks is the Director of Day Treatment programs.

“This is not an institution as some people would call it,” Burks said. “This is a family. These children are a family, so the houses reflect a family environment.”

That includes a comfy TV room, a large kitchen table, and well-stocked kitchen.

“They can raid the refrigerator late at night, children do get munchies and do not deny them from the fact that they get human cravings,” Burks said.

The campus is also home to a beautiful chapel. Services are Thursday nights.

“The spirit seems just to be exploding all over this place,” Chaplain Terry Hilliard said. ” Really and truthfully God is working. We’ve had three baptisms since I came here, and some of them have given testimonies about how powerfully God has worked in their lives, and so, we’re kind of inventing things as we go.”

You can help Methodist Children’s along that path by having a little good clean family fun this Saturday.

Money raised at this year’s WellsFest will be used to remodel apartments at Methodist Children’s. Older teens, who are transitioning to adulthood, will live there. There is no time limit for how long a child can stay at Methodist Children’s.

This year’s WellsFest also features a 5K Run and Walk at 8 a.m. Saturday, a pet parade, and a silent auction. Get more information about the event here.

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