The Mississippi “Ole Miss” Rebels Blanket for a Blanket campaign gives hundreds of blankets to local and statewide charities in Mississippi.
The Ole Miss Rebels Blanket for a Blanket campaign is one of many in the SEC, B 10 and B12 that donates a blanket for every blanket sold through With a Purpose.
With a Purpose is a company that partners with nonprofits and charities to provide warmth for those in need across the nation. The company sells college football blankets, and a few inspirational blankets, for $56.99. Anyone who buys a blanket gets one of their own and donates a unmarked blanket to a charity. The charities that the company partners with through each school is listed under each blanket. Nick Bundra is the Operations Director at With a Purpose.
“To date, we’ve donated 18, 555 blankets,” Bundra said. “By the end of this week it will be over 29,000.”
According to Bundra, the Ole Miss Rebels Blanket for a Blanket campaign of With a Purpose has donated 580 blankets so far this winter.
“The way it works is that our company runs it and we partner with them (the charities) on the behalf of Ole Miss,” Bundra said.
Charity Partners with Ole Miss
The two charities that the Ole Miss campaign partners with is Gateway Rescue Mission (GRM) and the United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County (UWOLC). Bundra said With a Purpose and Ole Miss has donated 580 blankets to Gateway Rescue Mission and there have been about 200 blankets donated to UWOLC. Bundra decides which charities the company partners with and he looks at several characteristics of the charities to find the right ones.
“The main thing I look for is to see that an organization that is respected in the community and seems to be efficient,” Bundra said. “We are a donating resource. I look at, ‘Are they going put them (the blankets) to use’?”
Gateway Rescue Mission
GRM is a Christian ministry in Jackson, Mississippi. The ministry has several different programs to help people in need in Jackson and in surrounding areas. GRM serves around 300 meals a day to the homeless or to anyone in need. A woman’s ministry called Ruth’s Refuge for Women is transitional ministry to help women get jobs or further their education. The men’s ministry, The New Life Program, is another transitional ministry that focuses on helping men shake addictions and to recover.
The ministry’s motto is “to offer life changing hope through the Gospel of Jesus Christ to homeless men, women, and children through programs to deliver food, shelter, counseling and discipleship.”
Rusty Ryan, Director of Volunteer Services and IT at GRM, said they this is their first year to receive the blankets from With a Purpose and GRM plans to give the blankets to the people they serve as care packages or in their seven night-a-week overnight shelter.
“First thing we are going to do is share some with a nonprofit in Madison. We’re going to take the rest of them to our overnight shelter, to our programs and some will actually be put in storage for the guys coming in to just eat and needs a blanket and a care package,” Ryan said.
Ryan started out as a Deacon volunteer at GRM eight years ago and now works with GRM everyday.
“I started eight years ago as a volunteer,” Ryan said. ” It’s funny because it’s they last thing I wanted to do. I went full tilt in every direction to figure out what He (God) wanted me to do. We try to tell God what we want to do for Him, but He shows us.”
Ryan encourages people to buy blankets in order to donate them through With a Purpose because it is more than just food that people hunger for everyday.
“People hunger for more than just food. One of the things is love, integrity and self-esteem,” Ryan said. “If you want to love on some Jesus, love on some Jesus by donating a blanket. You matter to the people we serve.”
United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County
The next nonprofit is United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County. It was started in 1970. The nonprofit help fund nonprofits in the area that do provide direct service. UWOLC partners with nonprofits, individuals, corporations and public entities to “mobilize resources, promote collaboration, and support programs that can together make a significant difference for the Lafayette County, Oxford and University of Mississippi community.”
Liam Clements, an AmeriCorps Vista, a part of the North Mississippi VISTA project, manages the social media, community projects and designs posters for the charity. Clements travels to other nonprofits in the area, such as Interfaith Compassion Ministries, to partner UWOLC with that nonprofit or charity. Most of the 200 blankets being donated to UWOLC will be given to Interfaith Compassion Ministries to distribute to those in need of warmth this winter.
“If you purchase an Ole Miss blanket, they (With a Purpose) will send a plain blanket to us,” Clements said. “It’s a great way to show your school pride, even at the Sugar Bowl, and to give some that don’t have heat. We forget that there are people that don’t have heat in our community.”
Clements notes that UWOLC was started in the year that the Ole Miss Rebels last went to the Sugar Bowl and suggests that buying a blanket would help show your school spirit at the bowl and help someone in need. Find there Facebook page here to learn more about our local United Way.
The blankets can be bought on With a Purpose’s webpage. Right now, they are having a holiday sale. Originally, the blankets are $56.99, but during the holiday sale they are $43.99. Buy a blanket from the Ole Miss Rebels Blanket for a Blanket campaign and give to someone in need in Mississippi this winter.
Emily Newton is a staff writer for hottytoddy.com and the editor for Experience Oxford magazine. She is a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Emily can be reached at email@example.com.