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Wingard Home Christmas Celebrated at Mississippi College


Randy Jolly plays Santa Claus at the Wingard Home Christmas at Mississippi College Picture by Barbara Gauntt.

Needy children and families from Jackson’s Wingard Home will soon celebrate the Christmas season at Mississippi College.

Leaders of MC’s Art Department booked Anderson Hall for the holiday festivities on November 26. The event returns to the Clinton campus after being held at the Christian ministry last December.

Once again, Randy Jolly, director of MC’s Gore Art Gallery, will play Santa Claus. It’s a delightful role the Vicksburg resident has cherished for decades. In the early 1980s, Jolly first tried on the red and white Santa costume in the window of a downtown Vicksburg department store. And the rest is history.

Very few do it better than Mississippi’s jovial River City Santa. “I just love playing Santa and it makes me realize how lucky my family and I are,” said the art instructor. “It’s always a joy.”

Founded in 1990, the Wingard Home is the Christian ministry that houses more than 60 homeless Mississippians year-round and gives them a helping hand.

Leaders of the modest residence at 1279 North West Street describe the home as an oasis in the desert for lost, hurting, abused and abandoned people.

The Wingard Home received a major setback in mid-October when a tree fell and damaged its dorm for women and children. The residence always needs items like shoes, work boots and building supplies. Donations are accepted to help pay utility bills and keep the ministry alive each year.

Typically, Wingard residents stay six months or up to a year. Family members receive lots of love and hear the Gospel before moving on. Once homeless in Atlanta, Roy Wingard and his wife, Charlotte, founded the ministry in Jackson 28 years ago.

Christmas dinners along with a shower of fabulous gifts for young kids are the recipe for an awesome experience at Mississippi College, says Charlotte Wingard, the ministry’s co-director. It’s an evening of beautiful holiday music and fellowship time along with Santa’s appearance to cap the evening.

Campus Dining, the Christian university’s food service provider, supplies the delicious meal. MC Art Department students, faculty and staff dress up to provide first-class table service to the visitors.

The Wingard Home Christmas was launched at Mississippi College more than a decade ago by retired art professor Michael Hataway of Raymond. Due to scheduling problems, the December 2017 event was moved to the residence in Mississippi’s capital city.

The Nov. 26 Christmas dinner begins at 6 p.m.

For information about volunteering or other details, contact Randy Jolly at 601-925-3880 or rjolly@mc.edu