Groups partner to collect toys for Rolling Fork children

Published 1:59 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2023

United Way of West Central Mississippi, the Vicksburg Kiwanis Club and some local businesses are partnering to ensure that Santa doesn’t miss the children in Rolling Fork this Christmas.

Rolling Fork was devastated by and EF5 tornado on March 24 that caused widespread damage and left families many homeless.

United Way Executive Director Michele Connelley, who is also a Vicksburg Kiwanian, said the idea for the toy drive began after the club raised money internally to help people in Rolling Fork. Club members asked Perry Boyd, the owner of Gumbo Pot and Blues Le Roux who is from the Rolling Fork community, where the money was most needed.

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“He did a little research for us and he said they were a little bit concerned about Santa Claus making it to certain houses in the community because the money would have to be used for long-term recovery,” Connelley said. “We got together and decided this was the gap we wanted to fill. There were companies that wanted to get on board and they got on board and we moved forward.”

So on Dec. 14, volunteers in Vicksburg will be collecting toys and donations from 3 to 6:30 p.m. at 750 U.S. 61 North. In addition to the United Way and Vicksburg Kiwanians, Blues Le Roux, H&M Promotional, Northeast Truck & Trailer Park and Harcros Chemical are partners in the project.

“If someone needs to drop off toys before then, they are more than welcome to drop them off at United Way next week and we’ll make sure that it’s loaded in the truck,” Connelley said.

“If someone doesn’t have time to purchase toys, they can go to the United Way website and click ‘donate here’ and we are going to purchase gift cards so the parents can make sure the children are getting exactly what’s on their list,” she said.

Connelley said only new, unwrapped toys will be accepted “so we will know what we are giving and can be sorted for age appropriateness.”

She said some businesses have begun collecting toys internally “and will come support us and fill that truck up with all kinds of great toys.”


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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