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Volunteers lining up once again to feed emergency workers on Christmas

This year, a heavy burden, more than usual, has been placed on the shoulders of frontline medical workers and first responders.

With the outbreak of COVID-19, the community has come to rely on the services of these heroes like never before.

From making emergency calls to homes where patients are battling the onset of the virus, to those dealing with the sickest among us as they fight for their lives at the hospital, these men and women continue to go above and beyond, even risking their own health.

To thank them for all they have done and sacrificed, like in years past, they will be presented a Christmas supper with all the fixings.

The Emergency Workers Christmas Appreciation Meal, an outreach program started seven years ago by a group of volunteers, will once again express our community’s thanks to Vicksburg’s first responders and emergency medical personnel on a day when they won’t be with their families.

Erin Hern, who has helped organize the event since the beginning, said she had a friend in Starkville who was putting together a meal for emergency workers and it gave her the idea to begin one in Vicksburg.

Hern set up a Facebook page to get the word out, asking for donations. The rest is history.

Food collected from the community will be put together in large meals and delivered on Christmas to the Vicksburg Police Department, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, stations with the Vicksburg Fire Department, 911 dispatchers and the emergency room at Merit Health River Region.

In addition to food, Hern said, she also receives monetary donations which she uses for filling any gaps in the menu.

“I will use those to fill in to buy dishes, condiments or plastic wrap, or whatever is needed,” she said.

Because of the outpouring from the community wanting to give back to the first responders this year, Hern said, she has received a larger than normal amount of monetary contributions.

“This year we have gotten so much money,” Hern said. “And I can’t go buy six turkeys and cook them all on Christmas Day or have room for them in my refrigerator.”

So, Hern has a network of volunteers who not only help cook some of the larger items purchased with the money donated, she also has friends who let her use extra storage space in refrigerators and freezers. There are also a number of restaurants and food experts lined up to prepare larger items that are purchased with the donated funds.

And, there is still time to sign up and chip in. For information on the event or to sign up to donate food, to make a monetary donation, or to help shop or cook, visit the group’s Facebook page, Emergency Workers Christmas Appreciation Meal. You can also visit https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e084ea8a82ea2fa7-2020.

For those who have signed up to bring food, the drop off point will be Christmas evening and will again be at Medical Associates of Vicksburg, 2080 South Frontage Road. This year, due to the virus, it will be a drive-through drop off from 5 to 5:30 p.m.

Once all the food has been collected, a group of volunteers will then deliver the meals.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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