MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A nonprofit is working to organize better connectivity and communication between those living in Memphis’ historic Orange Mound neighborhood.
They hope it will not only help people as they navigate life during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also build a strong base for years to come.
Paula Campbell knows the rich history of Orange Mound firsthand.
“This is the neighborhood I grew up in, and I got married and moved back here to try and make a difference and to bring back the value of the neighborhood through family and fellowship,” Campbell said.
Campbell is a zone captain, which is what Juice Orange Mound, a nonprofit advocating for the area, calls those who are heading up a portion of the neighborhood. They help people stay in touch and relay information.
“Because we can’t get out now it’s very important that we find ways to get the information out and to get the help out,” Britney Thornton, lead organizer for Juice Orange Mound said.
Thornton said before the coronavirus pandemic hit, they were already working to promote the zones, but now there’s a bigger drive.
“Especially because people are saying this is something that could come out and be seasonal before we get the vaccine,” Thornton said. “We just want to make sure that what we’re learning now, we’re able to address in the future.”
They’re starting in the core of Orange Mound, known as Zone 6, which is between Southern and Park and Hamilton and Airways.
Right now, Juice Orange Mound is working to collect supplies for care packages to be delivered in a few weeks to those within that zone. They’re delivering things like masks, hand sanitizer and food.
“We don’t want to give out, you know, one uniform package,” Thornton said. “We really want to get the needs of people.”
The biggest thing the nonprofit needs now is involvement so people living on streets across Orange Mound can be included.
“It’s a pleasure to do it because I think that when you’re in a position to help others that are in need, that’s what we should do,” Campbell said.
Juice Orange Mound said this is something they plan to keep doing beyond the coronavirus crisis and plan to phase in other parts of Orange Mound once they figure out what works and what doesn’t work.
Their goal on May 2 is to deliver 100 care packages and recruit a total of 18 street representatives to continue to plan events and programming for the Zone 6 community.
If you would like to volunteer, donate or participate in your zone, text “OMSA” to 901-460-3001 or go to www.juiceorangemound.org/zones.