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Ole Miss Grad Gives Back in Oxford

Volunteer Oxford hosted a clothing drive on Tuesday April 25 at Oxford Community Market. Photo by Ashley Thusius

Ole Miss journalism graduate and Water Valley native Chris Caldwell began working with Volunteer Oxford in 2016.
“There is a need in any community, no matter how large or how small, to help those who are less fortunate than most.  It’s a great place to live when you’re helping others,” Caldwell said.
Founded in 2011, Volunteer Oxford promotes volunteerism in the Lafayette, Oxford and university communities.  The organization is currently working on expanding its services to Pontotoc and Yalobusha counties as well.
The opportunities to help are varied. Volunteer Oxford partners with Mississippi Blood Services, the University of Mississippi, the City of Oxford, the Oxford Park Commission, among other groups. In April, Caldwell helped to run a clothing drive at the Oxford Community Market.

Caldwell came to Volunteer Oxford as an AmeriCorps VISTA member through the University of Mississippi’s McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement and the North Mississippi VISTA Project. He says his journalism degree gave him prior experience with the tasks he now handles daily, like public relations, working with computers and writing.
“They placed me at Volunteer Oxford, because they saw that my skill set fit it perfectly. Basically, I do everything from social media to communications to just anything they need me to do, even recruiting volunteers.”
Caldwell said he chose to pursue volunteerism, because he was tired of seeing his community struggle.  According to Volunteer Mississippi, last year more than 100,000 people in the state donated time to help others.
“People are busy and only make time for things that they feel are important to their lives, so we try to make every event that we do really important to where people will want to come out,” Caldwell said.  “The community’s coming together to be one big, happy family you could say and just enjoying the camaraderie.”
Story contributed by Ashley Thusius: althusiu@go.olemiss.edu.

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