Two local centers forced to discontinue services due to partial government shutdown

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WCBI)- The effects of the partial government shut down are being felt by several families in Starkville.

On Tuesday, The Families First Center of North Mississippi notified all of its partners they’d be forced to close their doors and suspend all activities and services at their centers.

This is having major impacts at Emerson Family School and J.L. King who offers activities and services to kids and adults in the community.

“We have parents that come here every evening, you see the parents out here now,” said Elmarie Carr Brooks, program manager at the J.L. King Center. “They’re here every evening trying to improve, trying to expose their children. They’re volunteering, just trying to do better, and then you say shut it down. You can’t do that.”

The J.L. King center is a popular spot for positive after school activities.

The students do their homework, read books, and learn computer skills.

The Emerson Family Center also offers a variety of programs and activities including parenting classes.

However, the government shutdown is now putting all of that in jeopardy.

“You hear the chatter in there, you know those kids are happy and you know the people they’re working with are happy,” said Brooks. “They’re benefiting, they’re profiting from it. Why would you even think that you can write a letter in one day and say discontinue that. It’s just mean, it’s just absolutely mean.”

Both Emerson and J. L. King receive funds from the Department of Human Services.

However, those funds have now fizzled out and they won’t receive anymore after Thursday.

Despite this setback, Brooks said she cares to much about her students and refuses to let that stop her.

“I’m not going to close the doors and let those children down because we as adults will be letting our children down,” Brooks expressed. “I’m not going to do that.”

Instead she’s going to fight back by finding a way to keep the doors open, even if it means she has to find volunteers to donate their time and services at the center.

“Whether the funding is from Families First of Mississippi or whoever, we cannot, we cannot, absolutely we cannot close our doors today,” said Brooks. “We are not giving up, we are not giving up.”

On Friday, Brooks is holding a public meeting with stakeholders and community members to discuss ideas for continuing their services.

That meeting will be at 10:30 in the morning at the J.L. King Center and it is open to the public.

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