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Local Charities Spread the Holiday Cheer

The winter is coming early and with it the holiday spirit. As the stores hang bright ornaments like Thanksgiving is not a federal holiday local charities around Oxford are ready to give to those who need holiday warmth the most.
10th Annual Adopt-A-Basket
This annual event is sponsored by the Associated Student Body, The Big Event and the Office of Volunteer Services at University of Mississippi. The baskets donated will help a needful family in Oxford city, Lafayette county and even families on university campus make a meal for Thanksgiving.
Those interested can donate the following items: $35 gift card to Wal-Mart, Krogers or Larson’s, two large cans of corn, two large cans of green beans, two cans of chicken broth, one can of cranberry sauce, one large onion, three pounds of sweet potatoes, three pounds of white potatoes, one can of sweet condensed milk, five pounds of sugar, and five pounds of cornmeal.
In addition to donations the hosts are looking for volunteers to help pack the baskets. Interested people can email Kaitlyn Vogt at kvogt@go.olemiss.edu and Coutler Ward at jcward@go.olemiss.edu.
Giving Tuesday
#GivingTuesday is a global day dedicated to giving back. It is on December 2nd after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This day was founded in 2012 by New York’s 92nd Street Y in partnership with the United Nations Foundation. Now it is a global movement that boasts engaging over 10,000 organizations world-wide.
United Way, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Volunteer Oxford will be hosting this movement in Oxford as an outlet for all to “spend with purpose.” The idea is that all will have three back to back business days of shopping: Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, but with Giving Tuesday as a charitable day for needful people.
“For L.O.U.’s second annual Giving Tuesday, we sought to get local businesses involved as community leaders,” said Katherine Drinkwater, Assistant Director of United Way of Oxford & Lafayette County.
Interested businesses throughout the community have adopted local non-profits of their choice to run supply drives through the Thanksgiving season. Participating local businesses are Belk, Cannon Motors, FNB Oxford, ProMatura Group, Community Trust Bank, and Oxford-Lafayette County Chamber of Commerce. They have elected to directly support the following nonprofits: Salvation Army, Horizons at the University of Mississippi, More Than A Meal, Doors of Hope Transition Ministries, Epilepsy Foundation of Mississippi, and Lafayette County Literacy Council.
Other local nonprofits have also submitted holiday wish-lists to the Oxford Eagle and will be seeking similar donations from families, individuals, and others who choose to contribute to their work.
“Giving Tuesday provides a counter narrative to Black Friday and Cyber Monday because it reminds us that the spirit of the holiday giving season should be about community and not just consumerism,” said Sarah Ball, Director of Volunteer Oxford.
For more details about the LOU Giving Tuesday movement, visit the Facebook page or follow LOU Giving Tuesday on Twitter.
More Than a Meal
Daniel Howie, president of More Than a Meal in Oxford, said there will be a coat drive for children. For interested donors the coats can be dropped off at the First Presbyterian Church at at 924 Van Buren Avenue.
The Pantry, Inc. and Food Bank
The Pantry, Inc. has helped feed more than 400 people every month, including elderly residents. The donors can drop off bags of canned and dry packaged foods at the Pantry’s porch at 713 Molly Barr Road (also known as in the same parking lot as the Oxford police station). Useful items the Pantry would appreciate are oatmeal (regular or one-minute to cook), grits, spaghetti, rice, canned fruits, canned meats, canned evaporated milk, canned soup, snack pudding and pudding mixes, dry milk, sugar, self-rising flour, self-rising meal, a bottle of Canola or vegetable oil, and peanut butter.
Ann O’Dell, of the Oxford Pantry, said, “Our free and almost-free food sources in Jackson and Memphis have dwindling resources so we are having to purchase much more food retail price. Serving currently 270 individuals each week, you can imagine how that is taking a big cut in our bank balance.”
She said the Pantry’s “greatest needs” are canned meat of all varieties (tuna, chicken and beef stew to name a few), peanut butter and canned peaches. She said almost any nonperishable would be a good donation too.
The Food Bank opened its doors on November 8th, 2012. In its second year the Food Bank continues to help serve students who have little, especially for those who may stay on campus during holiday breaks. University students has been donating cans to the Food Bank for extra credit to a whole grade. Those interested in helping out can drop off food at the Kinard Hall Room 213, located right next to University police entrance.
The Christmas Store
The Christmas Store is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Oxford – Ole Miss in conjunction with Interfaith Compassion Ministries. Its mission is to provide toys to children in Oxford and Lafayette County who otherwise may not have a good Christmas. In its 39th year the annual project has served over 650 children in 260 plus families last year.
The project’s great need is monetary donations to cover the cost of two toys and a book per child. However community involvement is just as important for its group shopping times throughout November and its sorting and preparation day on Dec. 6th and finally its big event on Dec. 13th when families pick up their gifts.
For more information email oxfordchristmasstore@gmail.com or call 662-259-7150. Donations can be sent to The Christmas Store at P.O. Box 1686, Oxford, MS 38655.
Kroger’s Bringing Hope to the Table
Kroger’s along with Gerbes, King Soopers, Jay C. Food Stores, Owen’s, Payless, QFC: Quality Food Care, Ralphs, Bakers, City Market, Dillons, Food4Less, Foods Co., Fred Meyer, Fry’s Food Stores and Smith’s are joining to donate meals to empty tables across the nation.
Kroger’s is leading the charity in accordance to its tradition. Its founder, Barney Kroger, donated loaves of bread to the poor at end of every week. More than 130 years later Kroger’s is still helping those who have little.
Bringing Hope to the Table, its ongoing hunger relief program, brings funds to local food banks. Since its launch in 2006 the program has generated $27 million, all of which goes to food banks working in Kroger communities. These funds help food banks purchase new trucks, refrigeration equipment, computers and other resources as needed.
The Oxonians can help by dropping spare change in specifically-marked coin canisters, buying nonperishable food for in-store food drives and adding a small donation to the food bill for the Oxford Kroger’s. Kroger’s reported that in 2010 during the holiday season its shoppers provided more than $5.3 million nation-wide in food and funds to help local hunger relief efforts.
Callie Daniels is the staff reporter for HottyToddy.com. She would love to list more charities (if she missed any) so feel free to email her at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com. Thank you!

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