Mississippi College

Mississippi College Welcomes Homeless Families with Christmas Dinner

December 9, 2008

Santa Claus, dozens of adorable bears and servings of pecan chocolate pie are part of the festivities as Mississippi College hosts homeless families for a Christmas dinner.

Forty-two family members, including 19 children, from the Wingard Home in Jackson are arriving on the Clinton campus for the holiday event Wednesday evening. The Wingard Home near the Mississippi Baptist Medical Center has ministered to the homeless and needy in the Jackson area since 1990.

This is the third year in a row that the MC Department of Art and students from the Kappa Pi art honorary organization have combined to assist with the project to help those less fortunate during the holiday season.

"I get tears in my eyes every time I work it," said art professor Michael Hataway, who heads the graphic arts program. "This is one way to give back to them."

In his office on the third floor of Aven Hall are dozens of bears, dogs and other toys donated by his mother-in-law, Carolyn Tabb of Raymond. Santa Claus plans to deliver the toys to the children at the dinner this evening.

Nearly forced to close its doors in the fall as donations dropped off due to tough times for the U.S. economy, the Wingard Home has managed to stay in business. The home is funded solely by donations from individuals, private foundations and corporations. It seeks no government assistance.

Led by Pastor Roy Wingard and his wife, Charlotte, the facility houses women, children, pregnant teens and other family members who are living in a dire situation or were abandoned. Residents at the home must be willing to seek jobs and follow house rules. Volunteers are always needed to help with staffing the home.

Hataway and Gore Galleries Director Randy Jolly, who looks like Santa Claus and will play that role Wednesday at Anderson Hall, are getting help. Sodexo, the company that cooks and serves meals at the MC cafeteria, is supplying the food for the visitors. MC students and art faculty will serve the meal, whether it is iced tea, green beans or pecan crusted chicken.

"Knowing how special it is to them, it is really a blessing," said graphic design major Laura Creel of Byram. "It will be so much fun." Creel, the vice president of Kappa Pi, worked the event last December.

MC art student Anna Hays of Tutwiler is a newcomer to the annual program, but is eager to be a part of it. "I'm really excited about this opportunity?

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