OUTLOOK: Christmas benefit events for the young and fluffy — and everyone in between

Published 4:00 am Sunday, November 27, 2022

In all the merriment of the holiday season, it is easy for one to forget or overlook the needs of those less fortunate.

But thanks to the outpouring from both religious and civic organizations as well as volunteer groups and individuals, Vicksburg has proven it is a generous community. Some of the events that are being held to provide assistance to those less fortunate are geared specifically toward the most vulnerable — children and animals.

Will Conway Children’s Charity Night

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The Second Annual Will Conway Children’s Charity Night will be held on Dec. 1 at Beechwood Restaurant & Lounge, 4451 Clay St. The event, which benefits Jacob’s Ladder Learning Center and Rainbow Farms therapeutic riding center for the handicapped, is held in memory of Will Conway, who died in 2020.

Organizer Will Hood said in an interview last year with The Post that Conway was a “very special person to a lot of people in Vicksburg. No matter what he was going through physically, health-wise, Will would never let you know that. He always lived every day just with a smile and a beautiful attitude.”

Hood said Conway worked at McAlister’s Deli during lunch and would then go to the Beechwood to hang out with friends.

“It was always a special place for him,” Hood said. “We loved having him here.”

The charity event will kick off at 6 p.m. and include live entertainment, an auction and a raffle for $1,000. For raffle tickets, call 601-619-7002. Admission to the event is $10 and can be purchased at the door, through Jacob’s Ladder or Rainbow Farms.

Jammin’ For the Kids

The 25th annual Jammin’ For The Kids event will be held on Dec. 8 at the Watermark, 1415 Washington St. For a quarter of a century, this event has benefited children whose parents are incarcerated.

“Jammin’ For The Kids started off with a couple of cans of green beans and a couple a hundred dollars and it is now celebrating its 25th anniversary of providing for children who are not getting picked up by the other wonderful charitable organizations,” event organizer Kemper Ehrhardt said. “And it (the event) wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the wonderful musicians who have donated their time through the years.”

The Jammin’ For The Kids fundraiser is also made possible through the scores of volunteers, Ehrhardt said, including Jenni Piazza Taylor who helps organize the event. As in years past, in addition to the musicians donating their talents, the venue space has also been donated as well as most of the food.

“Gumbo Pot will be catering the event with a limited cash menu,” Ehrhardt said, adding that local businesses have donated items for the auction and raffle that will be held the night of the event.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. and admission is $10 or a new, unwrapped toy. Entertainment will be provided by John Howard Dennis; Lee H. Abraham & Friends; Ralph Miller; Patchwork; Mike Thum and The Blues Experience. Sound will be provided by Andy Tadlock & Patchwork.

For those who cannot make it to the event, Ehrhardt said, toy donations may be dropped off at the following locations: River City Rescue Mission (entrance) 3625 Washington St.; The Biscuit Company (inside) at Grove and Washington Streets and Tony’s Seafood Restaurant (inside) on Highway 61 N.

Also vital to the Jammin’ For The Kids fundraiser are Beyond Walls Ministries and the Warren County Chaplain’s Office, which is in charge of distributing the gifts to the children.

For more information on “Jammin’ For The Kids,” call 601-629-2003 or visit their Facebook page.

Breakfast with Santa

The 21st annual Breakfast with Santa will be held on Dec. 10 at the Vicksburg Convention Center, 1600 Dr. Briggs Hopson Blvd.

In addition to the fun, the event is also a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mississippi, with a portion of the event and raffle ticket sales going to the charity. Last year, VCC executive director Erin Powell Southard said, more than $3,500 was raised for the charitable foundation.

“And this year we are hoping to give an even bigger donation since sponsorship has been amazing,” she said.

Along with Santa being on hand during the event, Southard said, children will have the opportunity to participate in arts and crafts.

“And we will have volunteers dressed as characters,” she said.

A photographer will also be on hand to capture a photo of one’s child with Santa. Doors will open for breakfast at 8 a.m. and will include pancakes, sausage, milk, and juices donated by McDonald’s of Vicksburg. Coffee will be available for adults.

Advance tickets are available at the VCC box office and Ticketmaster and are $7. On the day of the event, tickets are $10. Southard said last year was a sell-out with only a limited supply of tickets at the door, therefore, she urged parents to get their tickets early.

Reindeer Run 5K

The 4th annual Reindeer Run 5K will be held on Dec. 3. The course will begin at the Catfish Row Art Park, 913 Washington St. and wind through historic downtown Vicksburg.

Proceeds from the event go to Paws Rescue to help rescue, spay, neuter and find homes for animals.

“Last year, we raised $30,300 and we are on track to raise at least $30,000 this year and hopefully more,” event organizer Debbie Haworth Peacock said.

In addition to the funds raised from race fees, Peacock said, the Reindeer Run is supported by many local sponsors with all donations going directly to Paws. Also, to aid in the fundraising, there are raffle tickets being sold for a bottle of Van Winkle Lot “B” whisky donated by Toney’s 61 N. Liquor and a dinner party for eight donated by chef William Furlong.

Raffle tickets are $20, each. The race will begin at 8 a.m. and will be followed by a post-race event that will include food provided by LD’s Kitchen, Restaurant and Catering, adult beverages, a pet parade and reindeer games for kids. The race day fee is $35 and to register, visit www.raceroster.com. For more information, email cmfreeny@gmail.com or visit their Facebook @ReindeerRun5KVicksburg.

Pawpalooza Pet Festival

Pawpalooza Pet Festival will also be held on Dec. 3 in conjunction with the Reindeer Run 5K. This event will continue to bring attention to pets.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. there will be free animal puppet kits at Lorelei Books, discounts at John Houston’s Fine Wines and Good Spirits for those who bring in their pets and merchant collections throughout downtown to benefit the Humane Society and Vicksburg Animal Shelter.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. a Yappie Hour lunch at Cocktails 101 will be offered and from 1 to 3 p.m. at Washington Street Park, pet photos with Santa will be available as well as a Jumping competition and bacon hunt for dogs and a raffle for a pet supply basket. Beginning at 6 p.m. Key City Brewery will offer a Yappie Hour.

Salvation Army Angel Tree

The Salvation Army’s Angel Tree is at Uptown Vicksburg, formerly the Pemberton Mall, in the hallway next to Dillard’s.

Angel Tree adoptions are available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. All gifts must be delivered by noon on Dec. 10. Gifts can be dropped off at the mall where the angels were adopted, or they can be delivered to the Salvation Army at 530 Mission 66.

This year, Major Janna Torgerson said, there are nearly 700 Angels — half of whom are children — looking to be adopted.

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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