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The 26th Annual Books and Bears Program is Underway

By Edwin B. Smith

University Communications

The annual Books and Bears program collects toys and other items, including dolls, DVDs, bicycles, miniature action figures, electronic games and stuffed animals, to benefit children of Facilities Management Department employees. Donations for the 26th annual event will be accepted through Dec. 13. Distribution is scheduled for Dec. 15 in the Gertrude C. Ford Ole Miss Student Union Ballroom. Photo by Thomas Graning/Ole Miss Digital Imaging Services

The University of Mississippi is inviting faculty, staff, students and friends to spread a little holiday cheer by participating in the 26th annual Books and Bears program.

Anyone interested in contributing can drop off new toys, dolls, books, bicycles and other children’s play items through Dec. 13. The main distribution event is set for 9 a.m. Dec. 15 in the Gertrude C. Ford Student Union Ballroom.

The benefit recognizes and honors the service of Facilities Management Department employees during the holiday season.

“The mission of this event is to make a big difference in the lives of employees that help make the University of Mississippi’s Oxford campus one of the most beautiful in the nation,” said Erica Avent, assistant professor of teacher education and co-chair of the Books and Bears Committee.

“This year, we want to elevate our inclusion of students in the Books and Bears giving. We are reaching out to student organizations to welcome their participation and we have added a Books and Bears PayPal option for the ease of giving.”

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 Books and Bears in 1997 to help Ole Miss custodial staff provide Christmas gifts to their children. Spread by word-of-mouth only, the initial response to the call for donations was overwhelming.

The Black Faculty and Staff Organization sponsors the annual drive.

Books and Bears regularly helps 50-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 to enjoy.

Drop-off locations are:

  • Bishop Hall, second floor
  • Brevard Hall
  • Career Center, Martindale-Cole Student Services Center, third floor
  • Carrier Hall, Room 201F
  • Center for Inclusion and Cross Cultural Engagement, Student Union
  • Powers Hall, first floor
  • Farley Hall, first floor
  • FedEx Student-Athlete Academic Support Center
  • George Hall, first floor
  • Guyton Hall, third floor
  • Human Resources, Jackson Avenue Center
  • Lamar Hall, third floor
  • Lyceum, first floor
  • Office of Conflict Resolution, Somerville Hall
  • Robert C. Khayat Law Center, Room 2075
  • School of Business Administration
  • Shoemaker Hall, Room 204
  • Vardaman Hall, Room 201
  • Ventress Hall
  • South Campus Recreation Center
  • ROTC Building, first floor

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.

For more information about monetary gifts and donations, contact Books and Bears co-chairs Erica Avent at eavent@olemiss.edu or 662-915-2254, Elizabeth Moore at emmoore5@olemiss.edu or 662-915-2121, or Marquita Smith at smithms@olemiss.edu or 662-915-7146.

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