Mississippi College

Mississippi College Art Students Serve Christmas Dinners to Homeless Families

December 13, 2013

Homeless children enjoyed the hugs, Santa’s presents and a delicious Christmas dinner served at Mississippi College.

It was an unforgettable evening at the annual MC Art Department sponsored event attracting 45 residents of the Wingard Home in downtown Jackson to begin the holiday season in early December.

“The smiling facing of the children and families of the Wingard Home made the season of Christmas brighter for the students of Kappa Pi,” said 21-year-old Mississippi College senior Lorin McAlpin of Magee.

Students with the Kappa Pi art honorary served meals, played with the kids, snapped pictures and embraced the youngest guests the minute they walked in the door at Anderson Hall on Tuesday night.

“I really enjoyed getting to dance, sing and play with the children. They loved to take pictures and play with the teddy bears Santa brought them,” Lorin said.

Kappa Pi president Josh Eddie, a 21-year-old graphic design major from Mobile, Alabama, served food to the visitors from the Christian ministry on West Street for the third straight year.

“It is something I look forward to doing every year as it is the chance to step back from the business of finals and everything else going on to focus on helping somebody else,” Eddie said. “To see the appreciation from the people we serve is a great thing.”

Rev. Charlotte Wingard, co-founder of the ministry sheltering the homeless more than 20 years ago, raved about the royal treatment from the art students, faculty and staff.

“This is beautiful,” she said as her son, John Wingard, 22, joined her at the December 10th event. “Everyone looks forward to this. It kicks off the Christmas season for all of the household.”

Christopher Merritt, 33, moved back to the Wingard Home this week after spending time there a year ago. His wife, Haley, and daughter Kennedy, 4, also enjoyed the evening’s festivities on the Clinton campus. “I like everything – the food, the music, the environment and the staff,” he said. “I love the Christian atmosphere. It is a blessing.”

Retired MC art professor Michael Hataway of Raymond returned to greet visitors and bless the Christmas feast. It attracted the biggest crowd since he originated the inaugural event about a decade ago. “It makes my Christmas.”

One of the new twists was MC art professor Ray Gregory producing pottery out of a piece of clay and leading the devotional to tell guests that “God is trustworthy in shaping us and our lives.” As the clay crumbled at one point and he molded it back together, the art professor said, “I’ve been marred several times but God doesn’t throw us out. He puts us back on the (pottery) wheel.”

Gore Galleries Director Randy Jolly stayed in a jovial mood as he returned to play Santa Claus and hand out an ample supply of Christmas gifts to children sitting on his lap.

Jolly received help from MC studio art major Casey Clark of Madison, who pitched in as one of Santa’s elves. “What I liked was that we got to do something for a group of children that made them smile,” Casey said. “Even if it wasn’t much, if they got a glimpse of God through our actions we did what we set out to do.”

Making for a delightful evening, music professor Janet Taylor performed Christmas tunes on the piano. Mississippi College’s food supplier, Campus Dining supplied the Christmas meals consisting of cowboy chicken with barbecue and cheese, salad, cheesecake, cookies and sweet tea on tables decorated with poinsettias.

“It was a great success and everyone seemed to have a great time,” Jolly said. “It had some people in tears. We kicked off the Christmas season in the right spirit.”


Photo: Santa Claus hands out gifts to homeless children at Mississippi College Tuesday night as an elf played by MC student Casey Clark of Madison provides an assist. Gore Galleries director Randy Jolly plays Santa at the event to help families from the Wingard Home in Jackson. The MC Department of Art sponsored the annual event at Anderson Hall.

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