Shelby women unite to fend off mosquitoes in the city
by Rory Doyle
Jul 18, 2013 | 2206 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Shelby Women United recently raised funds to pay for aerial mosquito spray over the city of Shelby. Members include (from left): Inell Purker, Ann Hall-Elion, Eunice Sanders, Jane Letchworth, Barbara Bass, Judy Hill, Earleen Honeycutt, Doris Bridgett, Effie Foster and Emma Bland. Members not pictured include: Mattie Bland, Linda Mitchell, Shirley Harris, Julia Humphrey, Claudia Harris, Peggy Mengrelli, Ophelia Winters, Joann Lofton, Mary Graydon, Melody Henry and Sharmain Taylor.
The Shelby Women United recently raised funds to pay for aerial mosquito spray over the city of Shelby. Members include (from left): Inell Purker, Ann Hall-Elion, Eunice Sanders, Jane Letchworth, Barbara Bass, Judy Hill, Earleen Honeycutt, Doris Bridgett, Effie Foster and Emma Bland. Members not pictured include: Mattie Bland, Linda Mitchell, Shirley Harris, Julia Humphrey, Claudia Harris, Peggy Mengrelli, Ophelia Winters, Joann Lofton, Mary Graydon, Melody Henry and Sharmain Taylor.
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The hard work of the Shelby Women United club recently helped the citizens of Shelby receive a superior spray — a mosquito control spray, that is.

The women's club, which formed in 2004, began developing the idea to fundraise in early 2013 to make sure the city was sprayed by plane by Advanced Mosquito Control, the same company contracted by the Cleveland to keep the pesky insect population down.

Shelby does not normally have the budget to spray by air, typically relying on one city truck that makes the rounds through neighborhood streets.

AMC carried out the spray on July 2.

"We thought it would be a good idea to pay for one spray over Shelby to convince the city to keep doing it," said SWU President Eunice Sanders. "The city has been spraying for years with the truck and we know the airplane is more effective."

According to SWU, Shelby has increased the monthly mosquito control taxes by $1, and they think the extra money should be put toward more frequent air sprays.

"I think it's a great accomplishment that we were able to afford the spray," added Sanders. "We are very concerned about our city and mosquitos. We felt it was a sacrifice our organization had to make."

Due to concerns over the dangers of West Nile Virus, the club approached the mayor and Shelby Board of Aldermen, making a promise to pay for the first treatment.

SWU is an organization entirely devoted to community service. The group formed after a number of concerned women met at the home of Judy Hill to discuss how they could improve the quality of life in their hometown.

Their first focus was to clean up vacant lots, demolish burned buildings and enforce the ordinance for removal of abandoned vehicles.

An opportunity for greater community involvement presented itself in 2005 when the city was awarded a Mississippi Department of Archives and History grant for renovation and repairs to the kitchen and meeting room of the R.T. Hollingsworth Shelby Public Library.

Lacking the matching funds, the city was on the brink of losing the grant until SWU stepped in to sponsor a Christmas Tea and a Spring Gala.

The ladies were able to raise the $5,000 required match, providing enough to purchase new tables and chairs to furnish the meeting room and pay for landscaping.

The Bolivar County Friends of the Library also donated a new refrigerator and SWU held a Sunday Dinner fundraiser to buy a stove.

In November of 2011, through the generous assistance of Cliff and Mavis Van Beek of Glenwood, Ill., SWU assumed responsibility to operate The Thrift Store in downtown Shelby, becoming the biggest undertaking for SWU.

The store functions as a non-profit organization with an all-volunteer staff serving people from over 28 towns and cities, offering bargains on clothing, furniture, household goods and baby equipment.

Funding for the mosquito spray was collected through thrift store sales.

Other causes the store contributes to include: assisting victims of fires and tornadoes; donations to the Shelby Fire Department Thanksgiving Dinner for the elderly; equipment donations to Little League; and donations to the March of Dimes, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, breast cancer awareness and the local food pantry.

The SWU also promotes literacy by offering every child who visits the store to select a book to take home. Each Christmas, excited children receive free photos with Santa and new books through a partnership with the Save the Children Foundation.

Finally, scholarships are awarded annually to two Broad Street High School graduates.

AMC manager Bill Alexander said it was an honor to be partnering with a worthy non-profit.

"We're happy to be helping them after the extra effort they put in to raising the money," said Alexander. "The trucks simply can't reach as many areas that the aerial spray can. It was good to bring some extra mosquito relief to the people of Shelby."

Those interested in joining this service-minded group of women are encouraged to contact any of the current officers, including President Sanders, Vice President Mattie Bland, Treasurer Effie Foster or Secretary Claudia Harris.