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Donations Sought for 25th Annual Books and Bears Program

By Edwin B. Smith

University of Mississippi

The University of Mississippi is asking the community to help spread a little joy this holiday season by donating to the 25th annual Books and Bears program. Donations such as toys, books, dolls, bicycles and other children’s play items are being accepted through Dec. 14.

All donations will be collected and sorted for the main event, which will take place at 9 a.m. Dec. 16 in the Student Union Ballroom. The goal is to honor and recognize the valuable contributions of Facilities Management Department employees by giving back during the holiday season.

“We’re looking for new children’s books and toys for children of all ages,” said Lauren Jones, director of inclusion and cultural engagement and co-chair of the Books and Bears Committee. 

“While we have continued support for numerous campus departments, organizations and individuals, we also welcome public support from the community by donating to any of the listed campus locations, or through monetary donations, which can be made at any Mississippi Federal Credit Union location by mentioning UM Books and Bears.”

Donald Cole, former assistant provost emeritus and assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs emeritus, and Janice Murray, associate dean of liberal arts and professor of art emeritus, organized the first Book and Bears in 1997 in response to 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.

Books and Bears regularly engages 250-plus Facilities Management Department employees. The goal is to ensure that each employee has an opportunity to take home at least one book, bear and additional toy for their families.

Drop-off locations are:

  • Bishop Hall, Room 201
  • Brevard Hall
  • Career Center – Martindale-Cole Student Services Center, Room 303
  • Center for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement – Student Union, Suite F101
  • Farley Hall, Room 131
  • FedEx Academic Support Center
  • George Hall, first floor
  • Guyton Hall, first floor
  • J.D. Williams Library
  • Lamar Hall, third floor
  • Lyceum, Room 128
  • Office of Conflict Resolution – Somerville Hall
  • Powers Hall, first floor
  • Robert C. Khayat Law Center, Room 2075
  • School of Business Administration
  • Shoemaker Hall, Room 204
  • Vardaman Hall, Room 201
  • Ventress Hall

The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Division of Outreach and Continuing Education, Staff Council, Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society and Mortar Board are among the program’s supporters.

Monetary donations can also be made at any Mississippi Federal Credit Union location by mentioning UM Books and Bears.

For more information about monetary gifts and donations, contact Books and Bears atbooksandbears@olemiss.edu, co-chairs Lauren Jones at ldj@olemiss.edu or 662-915-1689, Phillis George at plgeorge@olemiss.edu or 662-915-3411, Terrye Davis at tsdavis1@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7174, or Donte’ Ferrell at dsferrell@olemiss.edu or 662-832-7648.

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Adam Brown
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