Hattiesburg, Mississippi – On Thursday, November 21, Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker was joined by Hattiesburg Police Chief Anthony Parker, Fire Chief Sherrocko Stewart, the City’s Homeless Coordinator Kim Townsend – as well as An McCullen with Edwards Street Fellowship, Jim Prout with Christian Services and Tracie Fowler with the United Way of Southeast Mississippi – to discuss charitable opportunities during the holiday season.
“Often during this time of year, our office receives many calls about where the need is and how it can be filled. Unfortunately, we also receive calls about possible scams and giving opportunities that may not be real,” said Barker. “Because we know that Hattiesburg is a city with people who want to be a part of something bigger than themselves – often more during this season of giving – we wanted to come together to discuss legitimate and vetted ways to give.”
Barker added, “This is just a snapshot of how you can give this season. Our city is full of nonprofit organizations that fill a variety of needs. Whether it’s an extra can of food, a helping hand to serve or an extra pair of socks – the smallest of actions can be felt bigger and deeper than we can imagine.”
The following opportunities were presented:
Hattiesburg Fire Department
No Shave November & Don’t Shave December
Through the months of November and December, firemen can pay $30 to not shave. The public can pitch in by sponsoring a firefighter or donating on his behalf. This year, the Fire Department is donating funds raised to a 6-year-old boy in our community who has cancer.
Hattiesburg Police Department
Hearts of Hope Toy Drive at Walt Massey Chevrolet
Through December 19, toys can be dropped off at Walt Massey Chevrolet. Through this partnership, these toys will help provide children who are in families that have been affected by homicide.
The City of Hattiesburg partners with Pine Belt Mental Healthcare Resources to connect those experiencing homeless with the resources needed. For ways to volunteer or provide items clients may need, call 601-325-0583 to speak with the City of Hattiesburg’s Homeless Coordinator – Kim Townsend. Additionally, the following organizations also provide support to the homeless and have needs that can be filled by giving.
- USM Institute for Disability Studies is currently taking canned food items and household supplies for families experiencing homelessness. Contact: 601-266-5683
- AIDS Services Coalition provides a housing program for women and children who are experiencing homelessness, as well as housing assistance for those living with HIV. Contact: 601-450-4286
- Domestic Violence Women’s Shelter is always in need of additional items to provide to women and children who are experiencing and getting out of domestic violence situations. Personal hygiene items, clothing, and stuff animals for children are always welcome. Contact: 601-428-1707
- The Lighthouse Rescue Mission helps women experiencing homelessness (with/without children) with housing. Contact: 601-544-2169.
Edwards Street Fellowship
Edwards Street Fellowship provides food to the hungry all throughout the year, but the holidays tend to provide for a bigger need. Canned food drives, rice drives and non-perishable food items all go the extra mile in helping meet their mission. For a full list of items they need most, visit https://edwardsstreetfellowship.org/food-pantry.html. Their free health clinic can also use office supplies, as well.
Christian Services is a multi-faceted ministry that provides meals to those in need, including Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners – and a Birthday Party for Jesus which provides Christmas to underprivileged children in the Hattiesburg community. Their needs range from volunteers serving meals to toys and supplies donated for the Birthday Party for Jesus event. For more about how you can volunteer or serve, visit https://www.christianserve.org/.
United Way of Southeast Mississippi
The United Way of Southeast Mississippi works with more than 15 agencies throughout our community who have a direct impact on education, financial stability and healthy living. Throughout the holidays, they also work directly with organizations and businesses to meet needs in the community. Currently, Shoe Station on Hwy 98 is taking shoe donations and Books-a-Million is taking book donations. The United Way will help disperse both to those who need them in our community. To learn more about these opportunities and ways to give through each of their partnering agencies, visit www.unitewaysems.org or call 601-545-7141.