September 04, 2013 Edition

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Stephanie Johnson of Walnut Ridge (right) picks up an order of dipped strawberries from Gena Morris of Paragould, formerly of Walnut Ridge, as part of Katie's Berries, a fundraiser for Habitat for Hope.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Fundraiser helps organization that helped family

Gretchen Hunt

When former Walnut Ridge residents Josh and Gena Morris of Paragould found themselves at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital with their daughter Katie, four years ago, they quickly learned about Habitat for Hope.

"Katie was born in 2009, and they had to transport her to Le Bonheur," Gena said. "We spent three weeks there."

She said within the first couple days they learned about Habitat for Hope, a non-profit organization that provides housing, meals and transportation for families that have children in Le Bonheur or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

"We stayed with them for 20 days," Gena said.

They learned that the organization was founded by Mark Harrocks and his wife, after their child was diagnosed with cancer. They came to Memphis for treatment and their church supported them.

That support caused them to want to help others so they sold their home and moved to Millington and began providing temporary housing in their home to families with critically ill children.

The organization has grown to now include the main house, as well as three apartments in downtown Memphis. A building plan is in place to expand the Millington location by adding cabins.

Habitat for Hope works strictly on donations, so after Katie got a little older, Gena and Josh decided they wanted to find a way to give back, and the fundraiser, Katie's Berries, began.

The fundraiser offers hand-dipped and decorated strawberries by the dozen with distribution in Walnut Ridge and Jonesboro.

Last year, which was the first year, the fundraiser netted $1,777, and Gena said this year's sale was even bigger.

"This year we sold nearly 250 dozen, with 85-90 of those being in Walnut Ridge," she said. "We hope to give around $2,500 this year.

More information on the fundraiser can be found on the Katie's Berries Facebook page. Habitat for Hope also has a Facebook page named "Habitat for Hope - caring for families with critically ill children."

Gena, who is a 1998 graduate of Hoxie High School, is the daughter of Earl and Joan Borah of Walnut Ridge. Josh, a 1998 graduate of Walnut Ridge High School, is the son of Nath Williams of Walnut Ridge and Angie Phillips of Clover Bend.

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