Mississippi College

Mississippi College Boosts Mississippi National Guard

July 20, 2009

Mississippi College faculty and staff are donating phone cards, puzzle books, toothpaste plus other items to Mississippi National Guard soldiers being deployed to Iraq.

The soldiers from the 114th Military Police Unit will be returning to the war zone for a year starting in early August.

This is one of many MC community service projects that reaches out to people all over the Magnolia State and beyond its borders. It\'s another example of how MC faculty, staff and students are reaching out as the university continues its "Journey for Life" theme for another year this fall.

MC Vice President for Christian Development Eric Pratt has asked that the items for the 114th Military Police Unit be donated to his office at 212 Nelson Hall by July 23. Making these donations makes sense for a variety of reasons. "We have from the Clinton and MC community a number of friends and family members that are serving to provide us the freedom we enjoy," Pratt said.

"I think one thing we can do is provide our men and women from the 114th some distractions and comforts for their down time in the barracks," he said. By purchasing the items for the troops, "we are saying you are important to us and hopefully it will unite our campus and Clinton community more tightly," the MC vice president added.

As they fight the war on terrorism, the Mississippi soldiers need many types of personal hygiene products whether razors, bars of soap, hair clips, deodorant or toothpaste. To make their one-year stay in Iraq a little more bearable while they are away from their loved ones, MC people are asked to donate decks of cards, inexpensive DVDs and CDs, and small hand held games.

Mississippi College leaders will promote many other community service opportunities at faculty/staff meetings this fall. Last year, MC handed out brochures and coins trumpeting career service options at the Christian university.

"At Mississippi College, we understand that \'Walking with the Lord\' entails growing spiritually, intellectually, physically, emotionally, and socially," the brochure states. "Our desire is to provide opportunities for members of the university community to discover and live out their God-given destiny."

As a result, MC adopted "The Journey for Life: Walking with the Lord" as the theme for the 2008-2009 academic year. It is the desire for MC's upcoming 184th academic year that the university family follow the admonition to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths."

Reports from the Christian Development Office show there were over 280,000 hours of community service through the MC Community Service Center since June 2008. The center provides access and information for the university's faculty, staff and students to get linked to more than 100 local agencies and projects.

In the metro Jackson area alone, community service opportunities are plentiful for armies of volunteers. The work can involve picking up and delivering pet food to Community Animal Rescue and Adoption or CARA at 960 North Flag Chapel Road in Jackson. Another option is to serve meals to needy families at Stewpot on Capitol Street near downtown Jackson. Want to build a Habitat home? Pick up a hammer and nails and join the work crews.

The MC School of Nursing is involved in service and mission activities in the state and globally. In mid-July, 15 nursing students and three MC faculty members teamed with a Baptist church in Pharr, Texas to go on a mission trip to provide medical assistance to poor families in Mexico. The trip lasted a little over a week.

During the academic year, scores of MC students sign up as as volunteers to assistant children at an after-school tutoring center based at the Hunter Oaks Apartments. MC alumnus Sam Anderson, a California businessman, got the tutoring center off the ground at the Clinton complex about two miles from the MC campus.

While thousands of children attended summer camps at Mississippi College, many also ventured out to apartments and churches to take on short-term mission trips. Some tutored and mentored children, while others spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ, said Shari Barnes, director of the Community Service Center. Barnes wears two hats - she's the MC campus coordinator for the United Way campaign that assists local agencies in metro Jackson.

For more information about volunteer opportunities, contact Community Service Center Director Shari Barnes at 601.925.3267 or sbarnes@mc.edu.

Photo: The Mississippi Army National Guard 223rd Engineering Battalion (based at West Point, Mississippi)

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