United Brothers and Sisters, an organization dedicated to helping the homeless, is having a food and items drive in Stone Park on December 18 and 19.
Mac Turner, president of the organization and member of Clear Creek Baptist Church in Oxford, is asking the Lafayette community to bring supplies like food, clothing and blankets to the drive on Friday and Saturday.
“It is from 12:30 p.m. until 4 p.m., but we will stay longer if need,” Turner said. “We will open up with a Scripture and maybe a song.”
Turner said the United Brothers and Sisters has sponsored the drive in Stone Park for two years. The organization also needs willing donors to donate ready-to-serve food to be given to any homeless that come to the drive this weekend.
“People can bring food to serve,” Turner said. “If you’re homeless or hungry, come.”
Apart from feeding and providing essential items to people, United Brothers and Sisters also trains the homeless for jobs.
“You have to work on people to prevent them from becoming homeless,” Turner said. “We train them on how to get jobs or learn trades.”
Before moving to Lafayette County two years ago, Turner spent time in Tupelo helping the community and the homeless. From using his personal money to feed dozens of homeless in Tupelo to being the leading man for new sidewalks in front of an elementary school, Turner has always had a heart for helping anyone in need.
“I met a lady eating out of the garbage. I had no idea that she was homeless,” Turner said about how he started helping the homeless and needy. “My granddaughter asked me why she was eating out of the garbage. The only thing I could think of is that she was hungry and broke. We walked over to Burger King (to have lunch and buy her something). I had a sandwich in one of my bags. It brought tears to my eyes watching her eat.”
Turner said the next day, he met the same lady at a local Wendy’s to buy her another meal. Out of the window, he noticed about 30 people huddled under a bridge.
“I thought I was going to buy her food, but I spent every penny I had with me for them (the homeless under the bridge) food, too,” Turner said. “That’s when I started helping the homeless, right then. It says in Matthew, ‘when I was hungry and thirsty, you gave me shelter” (and to live by that).”
According to Turner, a small population of Ole Miss students benefit from his organization’s work. Turner said it is hard to notice which students are homeless because many homeless people carry backpacks with their supplies around, just like a college student. As a parent of an Ole Miss Law School student, Turner has a desire to help any Ole Miss student seeking shelter or food.
“When I moved here two years ago and people told me there were homeless students at Ole Miss, I didn’t believe it,” Turner said. “Some have too much pride to ask for help.”
The United Brothers and Sisters organization wants donors to know that clothes and shoes in all sizes are needed for men, women and children. Tents, toiletries, sleeping bags, bottled water, nonperishable foods are needed for the drive this weekend. Turner asks that all under garments be new and the clothes to be clean to give to the homeless.
Stone Park is located at 423 Washington Ave., Oxford, Mississippi 38655. For more information on the drive call Mac Turner at 662-523-7124.
Emily Newton is a staff writer for hottytoddy.com and the editor of Experience Oxford magazine. She is a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi Meek School of Journalism and New Media. Emily can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.