Meridian Star

Local News

February 2, 2014

Annual Kentucky Ham Meal honors Apperson, Bounds

MERIDIAN — With any cause or organization, there is always one or two individuals who go the extra mile and motivate others to participate.

    For several decades, JoAnn Apperson and Wilma Bounds have created a ministry within a ministry by preselling hundreds of tickets for the annual Kentucky Ham Meal sponsored by First

Christian Church. And for their tireless efforts, this year's KHM

will honor the two.

    "As we know, the backbone holds the body together. It is one of the first bones that form in the human body," said the Rev. Dr. Tom Sikes, senior pastor of First Christian Church. "We know that God is the backbone of the church. I think of Wilma and JoAnn as the backbones for the Kentucky Ham Meal."

    The annual FCC fundraiser started at the suggestion of Apperson and her husband, the late the Rev. Dr. William Apperson, who served as the church's pastor for 33 years. Mrs. Apperson and Bounds continued to develop the ministry and maintain it through their love, work – and superb advance ticket sales. 

    "I don't believe we would have the success we have today were it not for these two wonderful lady leaders," Sikes said.

    Fellow First Christian Church members agree.

    "JoAnn and Wilma are gracious ladies who have a strong belief in their faith and a 'can do' attitude," Sharon Busler said. "In the last six years I know they've sold over 1,200 pre-sale tickets for Kentucky Ham Meal missions, which is amazing ... which is love!"

    Kathy Brookshire also appreciates the Apperson-Bounds team effort.

    "Over 25 years ago when we became members of First Christian Church, these ladies always sold the most tickets for the Kentucky Ham Meal; I think they worked as a team," Brookshire said. "This tradition has continued over the years. There is no doubt, they have always inspired me. They are a part of the fabric of First Christian Church. They are good to the bone!"

    But outstanding pre-sale tickets aren't the two's only contribution to the Kentucky Ham Meal.

     "JoAnn sits at the front door selling tickets during the meal, and Wilma works in the main kitchen, scrambling eggs for hours each year," Lisa Watson said. "The two of them contribute greatly to the success of the Kentucky Ham Meal every year."

    "Bo and I love these ladies! There are not enough superlatives to describe them. Just wish we knew how many biscuits JoAnn has cooked and how many eggs Wilma has scrambled through the years," Barbara Bosarge said. "They have set an example of love and service for all of us."     The tradition of the Kentucky Ham Meal began in 1963 as a call for help. An appeal went went out to the Christian Churches (Disciples of Christ) to help in modernizing Jackman Memorial Hospital in Bilaspur, India.

    Wanting to respond to the need, FCC of Meridian's Christian Women's Fellowship decided to sponsor a fundraiser. At the suggestion of Dr. and Mrs. Apperson, who had come to the Meridian church the previous year, the first Kentucky Ham Breakfast was organized.

    The Appersons traveled to Kentucky and purchased 60 pounds of Kentucky cured hams and brought them back in the trunk of their car for the first breakfast. Almost $600 was raised for an offering sent to the Jackman Hospital that year.

    Fifty-one years later, the amount of ham purchased has increased to more than 1,700 pounds. Serving times has increased to two days, and it is now called the Kentucky Ham Meal. Men and youth also lend a hand in what has evolved into a church-wide event.

    The menu still includes ham, redeye gravy, grits, scrambled eggs, homemade biscuits, homemade preserves and coffee. In 2012, more than 2,600 meals were served in the two-day period. In 2011 3,000 meals were served with the breakdown of food used and consumed as follows: 1,731 pounds of Kentucky Ham, 585 dozen eggs, 25 5-pound bags of grits, 20 pounds of margarine, 89 5-pound bags of flour, 22 6-pound cans of shortening, 65 one-half gallons of buttermilk, nine gallons of cooking oil, 7,200 butter singles, 3,125 jelly packs – plus 29 quarts, 37 pints and 23 half pints of jam, jelly and preserves.

    Even more impressive is the number of organizations and causes which benefit from proceeds from the annual event.

    In addition to the overall Disciple Mission Fund, proceeds from the fundraiser benefit the following organizations and causes: The Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi, Care Lodge, East Mississippi State Hospital Child Activity Programs, Laurie Autry Fund, LOVE's Kitchen, Multi-County Community Agency, American Red Cross-Key Chapter, Scholarship for Hope Village (in memory of Annie Kate Ward), Jeff Anderson Regional Cancer Center Benevolence Fund, Jeff Anderson Regional Cancer Center Discretionary Fund, Blair E. Batson Children's Hospital, First Christian Church Men's Program.

    And while the annual fundraiser started out as a ministry to benefit others, it's significance to First Christian Church members has grown over the years.

    "Kentucky Ham Meal is a blessing to our church in three ways – It strengthens our own commitment and fellowship each year, we get to enjoy the greater community coming in to enjoy good food and a big ol' time, and then we get to support many local needs with the proceeds," said Margaret Womble. "We appreciate every ticket that is purchased!"

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