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OUTLOOK: Miss Mississippi Organization hosts school supply drive for Warren County Children’s Shelter

The smell of new crayons, the mountains of notebooks stacked in rows and a selection of bookbags with every kind of superhero imaginable lining the shelves signal the start of a new school year. 

Purchasing new school supplies can be exciting for children, but for some picking out pencils and markers may not happen. 

Therefore, the Miss Mississippi Organization is partnering with Canopy Children’s Solutions to collect school supplies for students at the Warren County Children’s Shelter, 2021 Miss Mississippi Holly Brand said. 

The newly crowned Miss Mississippi said the inspiration behind the project is an offshoot of her social impact initiative, which focuses on volunteerism. 

Called the Help Kids Thrive Back to School Supply Drive, Brand said, this is her inaugural project from a service calendar she is creating that will include a dedicated service project for every month. 

And with only two and a half weeks into her reign, Brand said, she wants to ensure all students have the necessary supplies for the next academic year.  

“In July everybody is getting ready to go back to school and so with my social impact slogan, ‘If you see a need, take the lead,’ I feel like this is one of the most pressing needs right now. Some students will not have all the supplies they need to do well in school, so we want to make sure the children at the Warren County Children’s Shelter have all the supplies they need this school year,” Brand said. 

The 2021 Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen Tori Johnston is also working alongside Brand to ensure children at the shelter have school supplies. 

“Both of us noticed that there was a need and realized we had the power to do something,” Brand said. 

“It’s so rewarding knowing we can be part of getting them the recourses they need and inspiring as Miss Mississippi’s Outstanding Teen to see people come together and give the proper resources and material to Canopy and to the children who need supplies,” Johnston said. 

Brand said she wants people to know that any form of donation can aid a child at the children’s shelter. 

“I feel like sometimes people don’t understand the impact they are able to make through service and they think that just a small act of service doesn’t have a big impact but that’s not true. I want them to understand that while this may seem like a small act — donating a pack of pens or one notebook, it really can make the difference in a student’s life,” Brand said. 

“It was always so exciting to go and pick out binders and pens and pencils and one thing I took for granted when I was younger is I never thought about other people not having resources to go and buy supplies from Walmart,” Johnston said. 

But now realizing there is a need, Johnston is hoping others will help kids thrive with this back-to-school supply drive. 

For those interested in helping the children at the Warren County Children’s Shelter, Brand said, people can donate in a variety of ways. 

“They can shop themselves and ship to a Canopy office in Mississippi,” she said. 

Other options include dropping off school supplies at the BancorpSouth lobby, 820 South St., or at the United Way of West Central Mississippi office, 920 South St. 

“We also have an Amazon wish list people can shop from and where anything they buy from there will be shipped directly to the Canopy office, or people can Venmo us privately or send a check and we will go shopping for them. Then Tori and I will go drop the supplies off at the Warren County Children’s Shelter,” Brand said. 

You can also visit mycanopy.org/more-solutions/crisis-solutions/warren-county-childrens-shelter. 

The school supply drive will run until Aug. 4.  

Supplies needed include; backpacks, calculators, dry erase markers, binders, colored pencils, markers and crayons, earbuds, face masks, hand sanitizer, highlighters, loose-leaf paper notebooks, pens/pencils, pocket folders, rulers, school uniforms, scissors and tissue. 

Additional school supply drives include The 5th Annual Back to School Drive and Job Fair, which will begin at 5 p.m. July 24 at Rodney’s Store, 1318 South St. To register or for more information call 601-529-2222 or email meekinsjeremy@gmail.com. 

From 5 to 8 p.m. July 30, the brothers of Kappa Epsilon Sigma, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. will host an annual back-to-school stop-the-violence rally for students’ Pre-K-12 grades at the Vicksburg City Park Pavillion, 100 Army Navy Dr. For those attending the rally, the event will include food, games and supplies. For more information, call 601-218-6788, 601-630-6118, or  601-885-3895. 

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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