MC's Wingard Home Event Enlivens Christmas Spirit for Individuals in Need
After a hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mississippi College will welcome residents of the Wingard Home Ministry to the Clinton campus for a festive evening of holiday food, fellowship, and Christian witness.
Faculty and staff in the Department of Art, student members of the Kappa Pi art honorary organization, and Campus Dining staff will host the dinner for children and adults in need at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5, in Anderson Hall in the B.C. Rogers Student Center. The joyous Christmas event had taken place annually at MC for about 12 years.
Founded in 1990, the Wingard Home strives to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ by ministering to individuals and families in need. The ministry provides accommodations for more than 60 unhoused men, women, children, pregnant teenagers, and entire families living in dire straits or having been displaced or abandoned.
Charlotte Wingard, codirector of the ministry, said Wingard Home residents and staff look forward to the dinner each year.
“It is always a highlight during Christmas for the residents of the Wingard Home,” she said.
Wingard and her husband, Roy, founded the Christian ministry about three decades ago after moving to Jackson from Atlanta, where they had once found themselves unhoused.
Randy Jolly, instructor in the Department of Art and director of the Gore Galleries, coordinates the event each year. He said that residents are treated to a short devotional and Christian witnessing along with a warm holiday meal.
“Jolly” ole St. Nick makes an appearance, and gives each youngster a blanket and a stuffed animal. MC students volunteer as servers and “elves” for the occasion. All children – even those “young at heart” – get to sit in Santa’s lap and have their picture made.
Retired art professor Michael Hataway of Raymond initially launched the Wingard Home Christmas tradition at Mississippi College.
Wingard Home leaders consider their house at 1279 North West Street as an “oasis in the desert” for abandoned, lost, hurting, and abused people. The home provides clothing, job, medical, and social service referrals, as well as transportation. To remain open, the ministry relies on donations to pay utility bills and other costs.
Jolly said assistance is needed to help make this year’s Wingard Home holiday meal a success. Donations of new stuffed animals, blankets, canned and dry food, fruit, and individual snacks are welcome.
For more information or to donate to the Wingard Home, call Jolly at 601.925.3880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.