USM office seeks to help area homeless with special event

Tue 07/26/2022 – 06:49 | By: Van Arnold

A small gesture can have a major impact on the lives of those in need. This is the message that the Office of Multicultural Inclusion and Engagement (IME) at the University of Southern Mississippi hopes to convey with a special Homecoming Day of Service project.

The event, titled #HashtagLunchbag, is scheduled for October 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the IME multipurpose space in the University’s Hub building. The project will give students, faculty and staff the opportunity to prepare meals for distribution to community partners who serve the homeless population in the Hattiesburg area.

Christina Bracey, IME’s events and volunteer coordinator, notes that sandwich lunches will be prepared to include a fully dressed sandwich, a bag of chips, a piece of fruit, cookies and a bottle of water. Materials for each luncheon will be provided through donations from campus and community partners, including Aramark, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Winn-Dixie.

Bracey explains that the benefits derived from such a humanitarian effort cannot be overstated.

“It’s important because it gives USM students, faculty and staff a chance to serve the community that surrounds their institution,” she said. “It teaches an individual the importance of how a small act can have a big impact on the lives of people around you. It brings people together and creates a sense of pride for the service among people who may be different but who are working towards the same goal. There is instant gratification when someone participates in this type of service event. »

Like many cities across the United States, Hattiesburg struggles with a homeless population that Bracey calls “heartbreaking.”

“There are about five different community partners that we work with each year who serve the homeless population here because there is such a need for them,” Bracey said. “We held Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week last November, and it was a success. So we will be back in the fall to continue serving our homeless community in any way we can.

IME hopes to compile up to 1,000 lunches for the October 13 event, depending on donations. The company’s community partners include Christian Services, Aldersgate Mission and Edwards Street Fellowship Thrift Store, among others.

To learn more about USM’s Office of Inclusion and Multicultural Engagement, call 601.266.5724 or visit: https://www.usm.edu/inclusion-multicultural-engagement/index.php

Joseph K. Bennett