By Denise Williams
The Florida/Georgia Star
For the past 23 years, the Clara White Mission has offered miracles of opportunity and renewed life for the underserved in Jacksonville. The Clara White Mission, under the direction of CEO/President Ju’Coby Pittman, hosted its’ 23rd annual “Miracle on Ashley Street” fundraiser. The Clara White Mission is a staple in Jacksonville, offering programs that assist those with limited resources, the homeless and homeless veterans. The purpose of the Miracle on Ashley Street fundraiser is to meet the financial need of the Mission’s many programs. The Miracle On Ashley Street is their largest yearly fundraiser and draws both volunteers, community leaders, and donors from all over the First Coast. In addition to music and celebrity servers, the entire community was invited to feast on locally prepared dishes.
The mission is home to six major categories which include: Feeding Program, Educational Programs; a Housing Program, Clara at the Cathedral, Ashley Street Catering and lastly, White Harvest Farms. Each of these programs assists the underserved gain access to the proper skill sets or produce that will allow them to become viable in the workforce and stabilize our local economy.
There were many notables who attended this years’ event, sharing their time serving meals during the event. News4Jax morning anchor & reporter Nikki Kimbleton was the host and shared her passion for why supporting the mission is important for the city of Jacksonville. Soloist Akia Uwanda, who regularly performs for the mission in song, gave an outstanding performance as she belted out selections that were inspiring, uplifting and set a festive atmosphere. The roster of local celebrities and politicians read like a who’s who. Representative Kim Daniels, State Representative Tracy Davis, Senator Audrey Gibson, Doc Tony and many, many more who donned an apron as volunteer servers for the duration of the event.
The mission itself has a unique story to tell. It was founded by Clara English White, who was formerly enslaved. Her passion was simply to meet a need in her own community. She began to feed the hungry out of her two-room home on Clay Street because she had a heart to serve. Once her humanitarian efforts overwhelmed her residence, Clara along with her daughter Eartha were able to acquire the old Globe Theatre on West Ashley Street. Eartha elected to name the mission in honor of her mother, Clara White who embraced and created a legacy of hope that exists today.
To find out more about how you can volunteer or donate to The Clara White Mission visit their website: theclarawhitemission.org.