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Art Department Welcomes Wingard Home Residents for Christmas Celebration

Photo by Barbara Gauntt, Clarion-Ledger

Homeless families in Mississippi will again experience the joys of Christmas.

For the 10th consecutive year, Mississippi College Art Department leaders will invite residents of Jackson’s Wingard Home to the Clinton campus to enjoy a delicious meal and celebrate Christ’s birth. Children will also get the chance to visit with Santa.

The December 6 program begins at 6 p.m. at Anderson Hall in the B.C. Rogers Student Center at the Baptist-affiliated university.

“This is a great time for us to share the gift of Christ,” says Randy Jolly, MC’s Gore Galleries director. “We hope everyone is able to make this a special event.”

That Tuesday evening, Santa will deliver stuffed animals to each child to brighten their Christmas. Playing the role of Santa, with his hearty laugh and red suit, will be Jolly. The jovial art professor made his debut at a children’s clothing store in his hometown of Vicksburg in the early 1980s.

Staff with Campus Dining, the university’s food service provider, will cook the free meals. Dressed up for the evening’s festivities, MC students with Kappa Pi, the national art honorary, will serve the tasty dishes.

There’s much more in store for visitors from the Jackson-based Christian ministry. The guests will also receive nonperishable food items, blankets and coats of all sizes. In addition, Wingard Home residents will listen to passages from the Bible and hear classic holiday tunes.

“It’s the height of our Christmas season,” says Charlotte Wingard, who oversees the Wingard Home with her husband, Roy. Once homeless in Atlanta, the couple launched the ministry in downtown Jackson in 1990 after moving to Mississippi. The residence for homeless people in the capital city is located at 1279 North West Street.

There’s still much on the to-do list before the event happens.

Over the next few days, Jolly and friends will collect stuffed animals, clothing, cans of food and other items for the families. Donations should be turned in to the Art Department or Gore Gallery by noon on December 5. Money and gift cards are also being accepted to benefit Wingard Home residents.

“Join us as we share the reason for the celebration of Christmas,” Jolly says in a message to Mississippi College faculty, staff and students.

Retired Art Department professor Michael Hataway of Raymond created the Wingard Home Christmas, and his colleagues kept the wonderful tradition alive.

For more information, contact Randy Jolly at or 601-925-3880.