FRC DeSoto

Gives Gifts of 

Carseats to 

Local Residents

to Keep Children Safe

Gifting to



with Literacy plus

Treat Bags

Volume 1812• Issue 43 • December 2018

Christi Webb, Executive Director

of  The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi and 

Co-Director of Families First for Mississippi

Click below to see her story.

   Aired on a radio show this December was a man telling about how the community gave back to him.  He had always tried to be a good husband, a good father and a good man in the community.  Then, he lost his job.  He suddenly found he wasn’t able to take care of his family or pay the bills.  They were about to lose the house and he began to think the family would be better off without him.  Suicide became a very viable option in his desperation to take care of his loved ones.

    Then, the whole community stepped up and began to give back.  A friend started a GO FUND ME account for them.  And the community did “fund” him.  They helped to get the bills in order, took an interest in his plight and helped him to locate a new job.  The man, a man that had always been the one who gave of himself, was then the receiver because the community “gave back” generously.

    Families First for Mississippi (FFFM) is a non-profit that is all about “giving back” to families all across the state.  This sentiment is evident in every program, in every partnership, and in client feedback.  FFFM’s mission is life improvement for whole families, just like the man in the GO FUND ME experience.  A hand up to get back on course, the education to secure a job that will provide for a whole family, the basics for life sustenance when times are bad, coats for the kids when winter weather blows in, and food for those days when the money has simply run out.

     But, just like in that man’s life, there has to be a plan and way to sustain the improved life and there has to be community involvement to attain these goals. FRC is a part of this community that teaches families how to manage finances, how to manage anger, about job readiness and how to develop a career pathway plan.  They work with the children to instill these core values and they work with parents, grandparents and guardians to orchestrate a good family life so all members to work together.  They reach out with recovery plans when addictions manifest families with more issues.   They are community involved and committed.

      In centers across the state, FRC staff is going above and beyond to “give back” and to give a “hand up” for children who need coats or beds, to give food to families so they can have a family holiday dinner, to those who have been relocated to nursing homes, to those who partner with us to help others in the community and to the community in which each of us lives so that we can be a bigger and better state family.

December began with a Christmas Parade in Tupelo.  Staff of The Family Resource Center joined in the festivities, loaded with bags of candy to give to the hundreds of children lining Main Street.


They enlisted the aid of their own families to help with the distribution.  With great spirits, they gave back to the community that supports FRC every day!

Pictured here are Front row: Joby Shumpert,  Avy Jane Wade,Zoey Mettler

Back row: Carmen Mettler, Beverly Gonzalzes, Megan Morris, and Aleigha Gutierrez (Miss All American City).

Tupelo Parade

     The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi provides a plethora of high quality services for every family that walks through the doors. From understanding how to cope with one’s anger, to learning how to spend quality time with one’s kids, to gaining exceptional skills for the workforce. These people, from all walks of life, come needing assistance but leave with more than just one issue solved. Little do they know that with some support and guidance from professionally trained educators, they can look past their current situation and see that personal dreams can turn into goals and eventually proud accomplishments.

    One accomplishment to highlight is that of Maria Tiscareno. She has just passed and received her U.S. citizenship.  Maria, a Tupelo resident, is an active participant at the Tupelo Family Resource Center campus. Through the center’s Pathway to Citizenship class, taught by Beverley Gonzalez, she was ready to take the final test after several weeks of preparation.

   Mrs. Tiscareno has been participating in several programs including Toyota Family Learning where her family attends the weekly activities to learn and develop PACT skills (Parent and Child Together), attending ESL classes (English as a Second Language), and she is currently working on her GED through the New Learning Resources Online diploma program. Maria is a wife and mother of three beautiful children and works in the nursery at Saint James Catholic Church in Tupelo.

Pathway to Citizenship Training at The Family Resource Center

   Disney on Ice and Mississippi Radio Group sponsored the second annual coat drive Thursday, December 6, 2018 - Friday, December 7, 2018. There were 275 coats donated this year and a total of 300 tickets were given away to the Disney on Ice show at BancorpSouth Arena in exchange. United Way volunteered to organize the coat drive and, with help from Family Resource Center staff, all of the coats were organized into sizes in the C.R.E.A.T.E. Foundation Board room.

    All of the partner agencies and local school districts were invited to come get what they needed,.  This was invitation was from Robin McKinney, United Way Communications Director. The remaining coats were given to the Tupelo Salvation Army. When asked about third drive next year, the United Way staff members smiled and said “hopefully there will be because there is such a big need in this area”.

Community Coat Drive gives warmth as winter arrives

   An End of the Year Celebration was held at the Sunshine Baptist Church on December 6th.  In the Little Sunshine Daycare Storytime Literacy Program, the final story was provided by Carolyn Quin, Regional Coordinator for Families First for Mississippi.   The children were aged two and three years.

     At the end of the story, the children received gift bags of coloring books, crayons, a teddy bears (musical prayer), fruit chew, juice, colorful wrist bands and other items.

FRC Fulton Staff Lined up in Fulton Christmas  Parade to Share Goodies and to Embrace Gifting to their Community

Pictured right is Buddy Collins, Regional Coordinator of the Fulton Campus as he

                              and his crew of eager                                          helpers get ready to join                                     the town in high spirits

                               and warm hearts.

                              The helpers were able to

                              ride with Buddy during the 

                              parade, waving and

                              greeting friends and                                           neighbors.

   Did you know that motor vehicle injuries are a leading cause of death among children in the United States? Did you also know that many of these deaths can be easily prevented? Properly buckling children in car seats, booster seats, and seat belts that are the right size and fit based on children's age and size can significantly reduce the risk of serious and fatal injuries (CDC 2018).

    The Family Resource Center DeSoto County Campuses have specially trained and certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians that can teach caregivers how to ensure their child stays safe in and around the car!

   We are very excited to announce that the Hernando and Southaven Campuses just received over 150 new car seats through a partnership with the Mississippi Department of Health that are ready to be shared with families in need. All families are required to take a child safety course in conjunction with receiving the new car seat and to participate in learning the correct installation and fit for their child.

    Field Educator Raneshia Lee is pictured with a life-saving car seat.

Philadelphia Coalition Brings Community Together and Personal Donations for Food Pantry Replinishing

   Periodically, each FRC Campus will host a Coalition Gathering to bring together philanthropic-minded local citizens who are all eager to give back to their community.      Representatives from each group share their efforts, and plans are discussed on how to collaborate so that they can provide greater services by working to expand each's objectives and to not duplicate.  The point is to provide a large and diverse array of community service.

   They assess how they can be of benefit to the greatest number of those who need a gift of a hand up.     Among the many services provided by FRC is a Food Pantry that provides not only food during the year-end holidays but also make these emergency provisions on a daily basis.

   David Vowell of the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce Development Partnership reached into his personal wallet and contributed $100 so that this season will be able to provide the gift of food to some deserving families.

FRC Columbus partnered With the Columbus Fire Department to provide car seat safety to FRC clients. 
They were instructed about buckling their children in safely into their car seats. 

   Pictured here are Betty Walker (participant), Charnikol Robinson (participant),  FRC Field Educator Iris Sharp, and Fire Fighters from the Columbus Fire and Rescue Team.



of FRC and

Fire Department

Gives the Gift of Safe

Travel for Children

     Speaking on SuperTalk 95.9 on December 12th were Collin Billingsley (Director of Addiction Education) and Kim Benefield (Asst. Director of Addiction Programs).  They talked about the recovery services offered by Families First for Mississippi.

    Addiction doesn’t show favoritism in any socio-economic areas.  It can affect any person at any stage of life. 

     Recovery is gift that can be embraced by Mississippians through Families First For Mississippi and the services are at no charge to the client.  A thorough assessment will determine the kind and situational recovery plan that can range from group therapy to individual residential treatment.  Families First has a strong network of partners to which referrals can be made if the service is not currently available through one of the FFFM centers.


    Addiction is a family issue and recovery is a family gift. 

The Greatest Gift One Can Give a

Family is

Addiction Recovery

Toyota Learning Center at FRC Gives Families Classes in Relationship and Family Interaction 

    Families First for Mississippi through support from the Toyota Learning Center brings families together to learn to optimize family and community relations.  On December 11th, Families First brought local classes together for a “Polar Express” holiday event.

     Parents and children were treated to dinner and the “Polar Express” movie while enjoying dinner and sweet treats.  After the movie, the real treat showed up dressed in red and sporting a long white beard.  They were visited by Santa and Santa’s helper.

     Santa read stories to the children and invited them to his lap to talk about wish lists, while Santa’s helper passed out gifts to each child.  Meantime, FRC Elves (aka Field Educators) manned craft stations where the children could make tree ornaments or other fun activities related to the holiday season.

       The program was designed to educate families about healthy and economical ways to have fun with the seasonal decorating and gift giving, while sharing the experience in meaningful ways with all the family members.  The activity events are ongoing all year but especially joyful during the year end focus on giving back and sharing.

A Child's Christmas Extravaganza in Tishomingo Provided a Lifetime Gift of Memories

    A Child's Christmas Extravaganza is the best way to describe the events at Iuka Library on Dec. 6, 2018. Children were running everywhere with parents on every corner observing.

    ''Twas the night before Christmas" was read aloud to tiny attentive ears. Christmas carols were sung with children circled around Ms. Clause. Santa arrived and eyes twinkled with heartfelt wishes.  Faces were painted, blocks were stacked and scavenger hunts had children running in every direction. 

    This event was a heartwarming gathering where children and adults could spent time bonding over Christmas fun. Children, parents,  grandparents, and friends left the Iuka library with bags filled with game winning prizes, books given by Santa's elves, candy canes, and door prize gifts. Camera flashes were halted and the commotion came to a close as sleepy kids were buckled into their cars to head home. This is one night that many will always remember and a tradition that many families hope to have for years to come.

    A special thank you goes to our Positive Youth Development students, who volunteered their time to serve their community. FRC is so proud that several parents were able to attend as a PACT time event with their children. These are happy memories that will last a life time.

Merry Christmas from Tishomingo County FRC.

The Family Resource Center - Hernando Campus would like to send a HUGE thank you to the students at Hernando Middle School! The students donated 18 cases of food to help feed families in need this holiday season! Hernando Middle School Teacher, Lindsey Jones, stated that they did a food drive as part of their 12 Days of Christmas campaign. Mrs. Jones reached out to the Hernando Campus after seeing their success from the Thanksgiving Food Drive and asked if they could help keep the giving going. The Hernando Campus team was ecstatic! "Due to our location, we see families every day that need a little extra help getting food on the table," said Regional Coordinator, Abby McDonald, "It's so great to see others from the community recognize this need and put forth the effort to help give to others so that they too can move forward." The Hernando Campus team meets regularly with community partners that strive to help end food insecurity across the northwest region. They are currently working to help spread the wealth of donations so that every family can have a warm meal this holiday season.

Eighteen Cases

of Food Donated by Middle School Students

            The Family Resource Center in Southaven partnered with Mid-South Project Package to sponsor soldiers from our local area who are overseas this holiday season.

            Mid-South Project Package is an all-volunteer non-profit organization that sends monthly care packages to our troops and is run entirely off of donations.

            The founder and coordinator for Mid-South Project Package is Rickey Pope, who served for 30 years in the U.S. Army, and knows firsthand the need for this service.

            “I noticed that some of our soldiers didn’t have much contact with their families,” Pope said in a phone interview. “Or their families couldn’t afford to send them packages. Because of this, they wouldn’t get the items that they really needed.”

            According to Pope, 100 percent of donations go directly to the troops, either in boxes or to pay for postage.

            Pope said that the majority of the packages are shipped to soldiers from the Mid-South community to the Middle East but that if he knows that there is someone else in need he will send a box to that soldier.

One of their big goals is to send a package each month while the soldiers are overseas.

    “The first month we did this we sent out 22 boxes,” Pope said in a phone interview. “Last month we sent out 5,000. This month we are sending even more.”

            Mallory Trollinger, a Southaven Campus Field Educator, contacted Pope to find out what FRC could do to support him and Mid-South Project Package.

            “When I called him to ask about what we could do to help,” Trollinger said, “I was really inspired and excited to get started.”

            After hanging up, Trollinger said she immediately started contacting local businesses and community organizations, including local Chambers of Commerce, to try and collect donations.          

Christmas Gifts are now on the way!

  Carrie Evans, a branch manager for United Rentals, found out about the Sponsor a Soldier drive through looking at the Hernando Chamber of Commerce newsletter and contacted the FRC to find out more.

            United Rentals is the largest equipment rental company in North America with locations across the United States and Canada. According to both Evans and their website, United Rentals prides itself on hiring veterans.

            Evans said that after she found out about Mid-South Project Package, she reached out to the company through their company-wide Facebook group and was thrilled to see how big of a response she got, especially from staff who had military experience.

            “I wanted to do something a little different and unique this year,” Evans said over the phone. “We try to give back to the community as much as possible and most people know someone who has served before. So, we thought this would be a great idea.”

            In total, United Rentals donated $650 in cash as well as multiple boxes of goods. The donations came from across the country, including California, Tennessee, Florida and $450 alone coming from the Alabama Region.

            Evans said that something she made sure to “bug [her] staff” to give was money for postage. She said that she believed there was probably a huge need for it.

            Trollinger and Olivia Zeringue, another Field Educator from the Southaven Campus, brought the donations from United Rentals to Pope at the beginning of December.

            “In the past I’ve had to take up to $3000 out of my savings account to pay for postage,” Pope said with tears in his eyes. “This year I won’t have to do that. If we do things with good intentions, good things will come.” 

             In total, the Family Resource Center has presented Pope with over $800 in cash donations this holiday season.

            In November, staff from the Southaven Campus went to Mid-South Project Package’s warehouse to help separate donations and pack boxes in preparation for that month’s shipment.

            While staff were at the warehouse they separated perishable goods from non-perishable goods and filled at least 50 boxes with both types of items.

            Danielle Steele, a social work intern for the Southaven Campus, said that one of her favorite parts of helping with the packaging was seeing all the effort people were putting into the boxes.

            “It was nice to see gifts coming from every part of DeSoto County,” Steele said. “And the effort the children put into making the packages special, with lovely notes to the troops, was absolutely precious.”

            “It isn’t about me,” Pope said. “It’s about serving our troops and our communities.”

            For more information on Mid-South Project Package; including drop-off locations, needed items, volunteering, and donating visit the website

A Community Comes Together to Give to the Children during the Annual CAC Teddy Bear Drive

   Lee County steps up when their children need help!  The leaders of the community came together at 2901 Eason Boulevard in Tupelo to bring support to the FRC Child Advocacy Center (CAC). On hand to add support for a great event to help a special group of children were Kelly Mims, Circuit Judge Elect; Tony Roper, 3rd District Supervisor; Buddy Palmer, Tupelo Councilman; Chad McMahan, State Senator; Mike Smith, 2nd District Supervisor; Carolyn Green, Lee County Coroner; Joe Huckaby, Lee County Constable, along with other officials.

     On December 14th, the Child Advocacy Center of The Family Resource Center hosted a Teddy Bear Drive from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  These stuffed animals mean the world to a child that has been abused.  No matter what a teddy bear symbolizes to a child, this stuffed animal can help to build a bridge to a child’s trust, can restore some assurance of care or affection, and help in beginning to restore injured self-images.  They are conduits to close gaps and bring smiles. 

     Regardless of what a teddy bear symbolizes to a child, these bears are used to open doors so that children in need of advocacy services can reach through and receive the help that is available to any child that has been abused.

      CAC (Child Advocacy Centers) is available to help to bring about the process of healing and to provide support to families in crisis. To reduce the trauma that comes with establishing abuse and the process of criminal prosecution, a team of forensic professionals now work as a multidisciplinary team to conduct the interview of the child, instead of multiple interviews with the criminal justice system, child protection agencies, and service delivery systems.

Chickasaw Inkana Foundation hosts reception to form bonds with Tupelo

    December 6, in Tupelo, a group of local residents were invited to join Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby at the Cotton Gin for a holiday reception sponsored by the Inkana Foundation. Inkana means friend in the Chickasaw language and the Inkana Foundation was established to build cooperation between locals and the Chickasaw Nation.

      Tupelo is dubbed as the epicenter for historic homeland of the Chickasaw Nation before the “Great Removal” from this area almost two centuries ago.

     Among the guests attending this event were Families First for Mississippi Co-Director Christi Webb, Mitch Caver of FRC, and Patti Coggins of FFFM.  They were greeted by Chickasaw Governor Anoatubby and Bill Lance, Secretary of Commerce of the Chickasaw Nation.  Despite chilling winds and a wet drizzle, the venue and reception was well attended with enchanting ambiance and a warm reception.

Pictured left to right are Bill Lance, Secretary of Commerce for Chickasaw Nation; Christi Webb, Executive Director of The Family Resource Center; join Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby; Mitch Caver, FRC; and Patti Coggins, FRC Quality Operations.

The Inkana Foundation Holiday Reception was held in the historic Cotton Gin.

     The history of the Chickasaw Nation is tragic, as history sometimes can be.  Imagine receiving notice that you are being relocated, being told that you have to move over 500 miles, taking on this long walk all the possessions and supplies you would need to establish a new home.  

     When Native Americans were displaced from their homes, this is exactly what happened to them when they were told to move from North Mississippi and neighboring states to Oklahoma then called Indian Territory.

   The “Great Removal,” also known as the “Trail of Tears,” happened about 180 years ago when the Chickasaw Nation and other Native Nations, including the Cherokees, trekked from North Mississippi to their new home in what is now south central Oklahoma.

      About 4,000 of the 15,000 people relocated from these Indian nations died during this forced relocation.  The Chickasaws were one of the last to move and had at least one advantage by treaty which was free land patent claims that they were allowed to sell here in Mississippi. 

      Chickasaw Governor Anoatubby envisioned the need for a foundation in the historic Chickasaw homeland to serve as a partner development vehicle for Chickasaw history and cultural efforts in the region and thus the origin of the Inkana Foundation. []  The Chickasaw Inkana Foundation  is located on Main Street in Tupelo with a focus on preserving and protecting Chickasaw history.  The foundation has partnered with the Chickasaw Nation in planning a state-of-the-art Chickasaw Heritage Center to be built on an historic Chickasaw site in Tupelo, Mississippi along the Natchez Trace Parkway. 

Field Educator, Raneshia Lee (left), then Hernando Middle School Teacher, Lindsey Jones (right), and her son

Left to right: Carolyn D. Quin, FRC-Regional Coordinator, Angela Williams, FRC-Field Educator, Helen Dickerson, MDHS, Kelaysia Maddox, MDHS, Mandee Smith, FRC-Receptionist and Willie Mae Smith, MDHS

Clarksdale:  Holiday Spirit Week with Ugly Sweaters

   The Family Resource Center connects with many different agencies so that all can make sure the maximum number of services are provided with little or no duplication of services.

   During the Holiday Season, the Clarksdale FRC Campus is reaching out to their partners to show thier appreciation for the spirit of cooperation throughout the year.

   During this week of sharing the SPIRIT, traditions of hot chocolate with cookies and the trend of ugly holiday sweaters was the theme.

   Food, friendship and objectives were shared as they looked forward to the holiday closure.

FRC Fulton Campus Receives a Holiday Donation 

     Giving back to one's local community is a highlighted theme of this Holiday Season.   FRC receives support from neighbors who want to help neighbors.  Mississippi, for the eighth year in a row says Feeding America, is still the hungriest state in the nation.  The state also ranks in the bottom ten of the nation.

     Yet, Mississippi is ranked number 2 in the nation by CNBC for being the most charitable state in this nation.  We are a state that gives back to those who need help.

      Pictured here are Bobby Bean and Tommy Poole, representing the Northeast Mississippi Radio
Amateurs,  as they present a donation of $520.00 to FRC Regional Coordinator Buddy Collins for the Fulton
Family Resource Center.

The staff at Indianola Families First presented Christmas gifts for the Children’s Angel Tree to Sunflower County Child Protection Services.



FRC-Philadelphia visits Winston County Headstart (4 year old classes) incorporating storytime into Character Ed classes. Children with snacks or prizes answered questions correctly

    December 13, 2018 Winston County MAP Team hosted a Toy Drive for the community. 
FRC participated by volunteering to assist with preparation and distribution of toys. 
FRC also gave out information on our services to parents as well. 

    Other MAP Team members in attendance include but not limited to Shelia Vance Community Counseling, Tammy Dewberry DHS Louisville, Catherine Hill MS Dept of Health, Amanda Wilkerson Family Resource Center. 

Winston County Worked Together

to Gather Toys So All Children

Would Have Gifts Under their Trees

    Temperatures ranged around 40 to 50 degrees; the rain did a slow, steady soak of the whole area all day; wind gusts added a chill factor to this that is hard to pinpoint.  Bottom line, the day wasn’t exactly one of the best days of the month.  This didn’t stop the FRC Food Insecurity Team.

    With permission granted from Kroger Crosstown, they set up a table and began to pass out a list and explain to customers their mission.  They wanted to gather enough food to make a “good” holiday food box so that families in this area could have their own traditional holiday meal.

    Through the generous support of shoppers and six hours of battling the elements, the team is now able to report that they have 25 complete boxes to share in the Lee County Community.  The box will contain a turkey or ham, vegetables and all the makings for a dessert.

   This kind of activity may be heightened during the holiday season but this is the kind of work the team does every day.  Their job is to find ways to feed those in our state that are hungry!

The Food Insecurity Team Battles the Elements to Provide Christmas Dinner

   In the United States, the elderly population is nearing 25% for those over the age of 65.  Around 75% of women over 80 live alone.  Around 12% of those over age 65 need assistance for daily living.

    The compassionate philosophy of FRC includes this group.  Many have greatly diminished social interaction with other as they continue to live longer.  Small things mean so much to each of us but sometimes means more than words can express to a person who is alone so much.

     Receiving even a small gift can give back so much; not being forgotten is indeed a great blessing.

   In Columbus, Diane Sherrod of the FRC Campus worked with the Contact Helpline which serves over 400 elderly in nine counties.

While delivering gifts to this group is not the whole mission of this group, it certainly reveals the nature of the organization and this is to GIVE BACK..

    Contact Helpline's mission is to provide both telephone intervention and an initial point of contact to the entire range of available community resources, to provide daily calls to the elderly or disable who live alone in an effort to assist them in continuing to live safely and independently in their homes for as long as possible. The iListen Campaign is designed to educate youth about suicide prevention, the listening services and resources we provide if they need them, and to promote volunteerism. 

    CONTACT HELPLINE is a 24-hour faith based non-profit telephone service available to anyone of any age who needs someone to listen, care and provide specific detailed information about agencies and organizations that can help. Caller may remain anonymous, and all calls are kept confidential.  

                                                                             Dianne Sherrod of the Columbus

FRC Campus works with Contact Helpline to deliver gifts to the elderly.

FRC Columbus Joins Local Organization in Delivering

Gifts to the Elderly

     FRC Columbus and Chip Peterson, Addiction Therapist/ Mobile Assessor with the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of North East MS. INC. have formed a new partnership.    Chip utilizes the FRC site to complete his initial assessments, and then he makes recommendations to the client and the courts etc. 

     In addition to A&D  services, some of those recommendations may include referring clients to our services here at FRC Columbus, either pre or post treatment.   

     Pictured here are Diane Sherrod, Regional Coordinator and Chip Peterson, Addiction Therapist/ Mobile Assessor.

FRC Columbus Partners with National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and Received Donation From BancorpSouth to Continue With Community Services

Bankcorp South of Columbus is a part of the Columbus Coalition team, and they are impressed with the work that FRC is doing in the local community and abroad.   


They wanted to help FRC continue to offer services and programs for clients, so they gave FRC Columbus a monetary donation to continue helping families. 

     The Oxford FRC office contributed to the annual Books and Bears holiday program at Ole Miss. Toys, books, and stuffed animals were collected by FRC Oxford staff, coordinated by Hallie Goodson and Hunter Grissom. The results of the effort were taken to the campus by FRC staff members Tommy Parker and Dr. Debra Moore.

      Below are excerpts from a story written by Edwin Smith of University of Mississippi News about Books and Bears. 

     Twenty-one years ago, Donald Cole volunteered to emcee the first Books and Bears program at The University of Mississippi. Each second Friday in December since, the associate provost and associate professor of mathematics has been “Father Christmas” to Facilities Management Department employees gathered to collect free gifts for their children and grandchildren.

     The occasion was joyous, as usual, but smiles mingled with tears Friday (Dec. 14) as Cole, who retires Jan. 15, 2019, attended the event for his last time.

     “Standing before this distinguished crowd gives me great pleasure, because they consist of friends and colleagues of a lifetime,” Cole said. 

      Sponsored by the campus Black Faculty and Staff Organization, the charitable event annually distributes hundreds of new teddy bears, children’s books and toys donated by Ole Miss faculty, staff, students and alumni during the last three weeks of the fall semester. This year, the number of presents donated reached a new record.

      Cole, along with Janice Murray, associate dean of liberal arts and professor of art, organized the first Books and Bears in 1997 in response to what they saw as a need to help custodial staff provide Christmas gifts to their children. Spread by word-of-mouth only, the initial response to the call for donations was overwhelming.

       “Dr. Cole has aided the building of generations,” said Jacqueline Certion, assistant director of the FASTrack Program in the College of Liberal Arts. “I cannot thank him enough for his guidance as a professional at the university and as to how to help better mankind."

Oxford FRC contributes to "Books and Bears" at Ole Miss

Hallie Goodson and Hunter Grissom of FRC Oxford were organizers in the Books and Bears drive for FRC Oxford. 

Jacqueline Certion of Ole Miss accepts donated toys, books, and stuffed animals from Family Resource Center of Oxford staff. Presenting for FRC is Dr. Debra Moore.

     The Oxford Family Resource Center campus hosted a Holiday Open House for locals and clients on December 13. Several of the students who participate in Homework Help offered by the Oxford FRC center as well as their families participated, along with NLRO students and others who are in FRC classes. 

       Staff members provided food, sweets, and punch for the occasion. The Ole Miss athletics department donated tickets for the Rebels vs. Chattanooga men's basketball game played on December 16 so the Oxford FRC staff could distribute them to those who are a part of the services and classes of FRC Oxford. Staff members were able to answer questions about services and opportunities with Family Resource Center and Families First for Mississippi.

Tommy Parker, Jeff Roberson, and Laura Gillom, all of FRC Oxford, have basketball tickets donated by Ole Miss athletics to give away at the FRC Holiday Open House 

Dr. Debra Moore (FRC Oxford), Tracye Thomas, Ayanna Mitchell (2nd grade), LaQuita Thomas, Jack Gadd (FRC Oxford), and Jerdean Johnson 

FRC Oxford Holiday Open House for Students and Clients

Oxford FRC staff members visit Grenada County partners

       Dr. Debra Moore and Jeff Roberson of the Oxford campus of the Family Resource Center visited the Grenada Adult Education Center in early December to talk to the administration there about expanding the role of the Family Resource Center and Families First for Mississippi in Grenada County. That particular county, with a population of almost 22,000, is in Region 1B of Families First for Mississippi, along with Lafayette, Yalobusha, Panola, Benton, and Marshall. Dr. Moore had earlier visited with staff of Grenada County Departments of Health, CPS and DHS in recent weeks. 

       "We are visiting with our Grenada County partners to advance our mission of reducing the footprint of poverty in Grenada County through education and workforce readiness," Dr. Moore said. "Our visits there this fall have been very productive, and we look forward to even more involvement in 2019."

       In January, Dr. Moore and Roberson will meet with Grenada school officials and Grenada Adult Education Center staff about increasing NLRO opportunities in Grenada County.

Pictured above are Dr. Debra Moore, Coordinator of Region 1B  in the Oxford FRC office; Priscilla Burns, Director of the Grenada Adult Education Center, and Tifany Reed of the FRC staff in Grenada County.


       The Oxford campus of Family Resource Center hosted its quarterly coalition meeting on December 11 with United Way of Oxford/Lafayette County Executive Director Kurt Brummett as the featured speaker. The FRC/Families First for Mississippi and the United Way have long been partners for the good of Mississippians across the state.

       Also on the program were Jack Gadd and Dr. Debra Moore of the Oxford FRC office. Brother Stanley Huddleston spoke to the group about the Beds for Kids ministry of Families First, specifically meeting with representation from Oxford-University United Methodist Church and Oxford First United Methodist Church, who are interested in becoming involved in the program.

       Including the Oxford FRC staff, more than 40 attended the coalition lunch meeting.

       Other activities this month for Oxford FRC included the monthly "Save Our Sisters" domestic violence support group which meets in the Oxford FRC office. The Oxford office of FRC also has set up a food pantry so that persons in need of short-term food may visit the office for their nutrition needs. 

       Oxford FRC also provided Thanksgiving baskets for a local food drive through Ole Miss. Oxford FRC also contributed to a Holly Springs effort called Care Now Ministries, which fed many persons in the community of Holly Springs and Marshall County a Thanksgiving meal.  

       The Oxford FRC campus is preparing in December for its next NLRO graduation, which will be on January 8 at 10:30 a.m. at the Junior High School Auditorium in Batesville.

Brother Stanley Huddleston of Families First for Mississippi discusses the Beds for Kids program with (l-r) Laura Gillom of FRC and Oxford First United Methodist Church, Connie Hunter of FRC and Oxford-University United Methodist Church (standing), Pat Forrester, Alicia Retnam, and Nicole Gladden, all of Oxford-University United Methodist Church.

Hunter Grissom, Bishop Davis, Ashley Pfahler, LaConda Harrison, Jan Bryan, Dameon Cunningham, and Grady Watt, Regional Oral Health Consultant for Mississippi State Department of Health. The group discussed teaming together to promote better oral hygiene at area schools.

Kurt Brummett, Executive Director of Oxford/Lafayette County United Way, speaks to the Oxford FRC quarterly coalition meeting, which consisted of Families First partners, FRC staff, and elected officials. 

Oxford Coalition Making Plans for Programs Growth

& Service Collaboration

Tree of Life Give Back Project

The Toyota Family Learning Program administered through Families First for Mississippi works with family groups.   Those currently enrolled completed their first Family Service Learning Project on December 6, 2018.  The participants delivered a "Sack Meal" to the Tree of Life Clinic in Tupelo, MS.  The mission of the Tree of Life Clinic is to provide free basic health care and dental services to those who have no other access.


Families planned and organized the project with a goal of collecting the items that were served in the sack meal, which included a sandwich, chips, a snack, and a bottle of water.  Families worked together as a team to get all of the items donated for this project. 


This is a meaningful process for families to learn and serve together

• An effective method for youth and adults to gain college and career readiness skills

• An opportunity for families to learn together through Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®

• Family engagement that simultaneously connects participants to adult education and

PK-12 learning objectives through a six-step process

• Leadership through service

• More than a one-time volunteer experience


When children and families solve community issues together they are simultaneously learning and applying 21st century college and career readiness skills.

A Season of Giving Back: Jason Crabb Concert

    The Family Resource Center (FRC), through its Families First for Mississippi program, “Beds for Kids” hosted a benefit concert featuring Grammy-award winner gospel singer Jason Crabb on December 13th, 7 p.m.  at the First Baptist Church in Olive Branch, Mississippi.

      FRC Faith-based Coordinator Stanley Huddleston developed a program in Tupelo and surrounding communities, modeling on a program he had observed in Middle Mississippi.  The program is closely connected through partnerships and support of local churches and volunteers.  Learning from the other group, following their construction blueprint and adapting their methodology, beds are now locally built in Tupelo, mattresses and bedding are stocked, and a qualifying system is in place to assess the needs of clients and a delivery team handles distribution to those who quality.

     The concert in Olive Branch was to entertain, enlighten, gather support and generally spread the word about the program to the whole DeSoto County region.  “We want to do that we can to get kids up off the floor and into a bed of their own,” Huddleston said as he opened.  “So far, since April of 2018, 120 kids now are tucking into a bed each night; these are children that were sleeping on a pile of dirty laundry, on a pallet on the floor, wherever they could.”

     The Jason Crabb concert featured many songs written by his Grammy winning song-writer father, Gerald Crabb.  Gerald Crabb had told a friend in another state about the concert and the cause.  That turned into to a seven-hour drive from Dalton, Georgia, by Ms. Alisa Asbury who came bearing “gifts from afar” to the boys and girls of Mississippi.

     Part of the support that FRC hoped to attain from concert-goers was donations of bedding supplies:  mattress covers, sheets, pillows and comforters.  Ms. Asbury came bearing fifty comforters and also toys for 150 kids for Christmas!   Helping others is what Alisa Asbury is all about.  She gives gifts of food to thousands every year.  She is with Down Home Christmas in Dalton, Georgia. “Just last week, we gave over 20 tons of food.  We try to do about 150,000 pounds of food every year to about 50,000 families,” she said.  “Our fundraiser has always helped those in need such as single moms, the elderly, our veterans returning home from service, people who have recently lost their jobs, food banks and much more!”

     In this season that begins with Thanksgiving and goes through Christmas, this country will reach into their pockets to give back to their friends, neighbors and fellow citizens.  On the night of the concert, not only did Alisa feel led to “give” but so did the citizens who came to the Jason Crabb Concert for BEDS FOR KIDS.  In addition to the trailer full of bedding supplies, these generous families also pulled about $2800 from their wallets and tossed this money into the offering plates!


Top left:  Gerald Crabb, Alisa Asbury, and Jason Crabb; Top right:  Gerald and Jason singing together; Right row:   Stanley Huddleston; Christi Webb; Bottom:  The Southaven FRC Team that choreographed the benefit event.


Ms. Annie Williams Retires after a Decade of Service to Family Resource Center in Tupelo

 Ms. Williams worked in the Child Care Department of FRC.  She loved the babies but also "loved being around all the other workers."   She said they were always "kind and sweet" to her.

When asked if there was anything that she would change her history, she replied, " I wouldn't have done anything differently!"

She is going to stay home and care for her husband.

Neshoba County Head Start Donates Food to FRC Philadelphia


FRC Tupelo Welcomed Santa to Client Appreciation Event

The Crew at the FRC Tupelo Campus joined Santa in spreading the Christmas Cheer on Monday, December 17th.  Clients brought children to meet Santa and to make tree ornaments.  All were treated to snacks and treats and families took home all the makings for a family meal for the holiday!  Turkey, veggies, dessert ingredients were all a part of the gift. 

Homeless Prevention Outreach and Food Insecurity Holiday Events Bring in More Community Support 

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© 2016 by Family Resource Center of North Mississippi. All rights reserved.

The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, national origin, sex, disability, veteran status, political beliefs, religion, sexual orientation, or age in the administration of any of its programs or in the employment of any staff.

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