About 150 show up for backpack giveaway

Published 6:43 pm Saturday, December 17, 2016

About 150 parents and children gathered Saturday morning at the old Goody’s location at the Vicksburg Mall Saturday to receive an early Christmas gift.

For the second consecutive year, Mountain of Faith Ministries gave backpacks containing toys, clothing, Bibles, canned goods, school supplies and personal care items to children ages 2 to 14.

The giveaway was held in conjunction with the Mississippi River Ministry and the Appalachian Regional Ministry, two nonprofit organizations that work to end poverty in 18 states along the Mississippi River.

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“The Appalachian Regional Ministry started the program,” Mountain of Faith director Tina Hayward said. “Our first year, we received 500 backpacks. This year, we received 900. Our goal is to give out at least 300 today.”

The backpacks’ contents were age appropriate and marked for either a boy or a girl. Besides the backpacks, each child received a ticket allowing them to shop for a gift for their parents at the Elf Store.

Parents and children attending the program at the mall signed in for the backpacks at the door, and heard a brief program about the true meaning of Christmas presented by Tarsha Brown, an evangelist with the group Christian Women Evangelists, before receiving the packs. The organization was one of several to help with the program, Hayward said.

“We also have Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, women from the shelters volunteered and one of our board members is here,” she said.

Sigma Gamma Rho member Gloria Washington Porter said the organization consists of members from Adams, Claiborne and Jefferson counties.

“We are a community service organization,” she said, adding Brown and one of the sorority members worked together at Alcorn State, “and she invited us to participate.”

Although children were requested to bring a donation of paper towels or toilet paper for Mountain of Faith’s two shelters, Hayward said it was not a requirement to receive a backpack.

“We may not get all the backpacks distributed here today (Saturday), but we will make sure they are all given out before Christmas,” Hayward said.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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