Sunday, August 14, 2022

Donations Sought for 24th Annual Books and Bears Program

By Edwin B. Smith

University of Mississippi

The University of Mississippi’s Books and Bears program is collecting donations for the children of Facilities Management Department employees through Dec. 14. The items will be distributed Dec. 17 in the Student Union Ballroom. Photo by Megan Wolfe/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

Toys, dolls, bicycles and other children’s play items are being sought for the 24th annual Books and Bears program at the University of Mississippi.

Donations are being accepted through Dec. 14. All donations will be collected and sorted in time for the main event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Dec. 17 in the Student Union Ballroom. 

The goal is to honor and recognize the valuable contributions of Facilities Management Department employees by giving back and spreading a bit of joy during the holiday season.

“We’re especially excited about this year’s event being held in-person,” said Phillis George, chair and interim professor of higher education and co-chair of the Books and Bears Committee. “Due to COVID, we weren’t able to hold an in-person event last year, so we’re truly looking forward to reconnecting with everyone.”

Books and Bears regularly engages 250-plus Facilities Management employees. The goal is to ensure that each employee gets at least one book, bear and additional toy for their families to enjoy.

“We are trying to make this the biggest Books and Bears ever,” said EJ Presley, assistant director of career development and committee co-chair. “We want to collect as much as we can.”

Drop-off locations are:

  • Center for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement, Ole Miss Student Union, Suite F101
  • Office of Conflict Resolution, Summerville Hall
  • Shoemaker Hall, Room 204
  • Career Center, Martindale Hall
  • Vardaman Hall, Room 201
  • Fed Ex Student-Athlete Academic Support Center, Room 111
  • Powers Hall
  • Robert C. Khayat Law Center, Room 2075
  • Carrier Hall, Room 201-F
  • Brevard Hall
  • Lamar Hall, Third floor
  • Lyceum
  • School of Business Administration
  • Bishop Hall, Room 201
  • Farley Hall
  • J.D. Williams Library
  • Ventress Hall

Donald Cole, assistant provost emeritus and former assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs, and Janice Murray, associate dean of liberal arts and professor of art emeritus, organized the first Books and Bears in 1997 in response to what they saw as a need to help custodial staff provide Christmas gifts to their children. Spread by word-of-mouth, the initial response to the call for donations was overwhelming. 

Since then, the annual event has been sponsored by the Black Faculty and Staff Organization.

For more information about monetary gifts and toy donations, contact Books and Bears co-chairs Lauren Jones at ldj@olemiss.edu or 662-915-3128, Phillis George at plgeorge@olemiss.edu or 662-915-3411, or EJ Presley at ej@career.olemiss.edu or 662-915-7174.


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