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Volume 1911• Issue 54• November & December 2019
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NMMC, Family Resource Center Partner to Assist Patients


   The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi has partnered with North Mississippi Medical Center to connect hospital patients with beneficial services.

    “Our mission is to continuously improve the health of the people of our region. We realize that medical care only influences around 10-20% of the modifiable contributors to healthy outcomes,” said Ormella Cummings, NMMC chief strategy officer. “The other 80-90% is determined by health-related behaviors, socioeconomic factors and environmental factors. The Family Resource Center already has programs in place to address these factors. If we are truly going to impact our mission, this is really the perfect marriage.”

   “So many of these social determinants are the reason behind the patient’s hospitalization or health issues,” said Christi Webb, executive director of Family Resource Center/Families First of North Mississippi. “One of our agency’s strongest points is providing resources and connecting people to those who have the expertise they need. So many people cannot come to us or do not know to. Through this partnership, we can come to them.”

   Claire Goodson and Stephanie Collier, licensed social workers and field educators with Family Resource Center, now have an office at NMMC. The hospital’s case managers help identify patients who could benefit from Family Resource Center’s free services.

   Collier said they start with an assessment to determine the best way to meet the patient’s needs, which can include food insecurity, housing, domestic violence, transportation and other issues. Then, they work with the patient to offer help with parenting skills, conflict resolution, youth development, healthy relationships, addiction recovery, job readiness and educational needs. Fortunately, NMMC’s service area significantly overlaps with that of the Family Resource Center, which has 16 offices located throughout north Mississippi.

   “Even if the patient’s need is not on our list of available services, we’ll try to find that for them,” Goodson said.

   The partnership is already making a difference. Through the Beds for Kids program, local volunteers built a bed from wooden pallets for a patient’s son, who had been sleeping on the floor. Local groups also donate mattresses, bedding and pillows to the program.

   Another patient’s young child could not read, and Family Resource Center was able to refer her to Regional Rehabilitation Center for testing. A pregnant patient received a free car seat through the Family Resource Center.

   Patients are also benefiting from parenting and addiction recovery classes. “We find that once people come to our programs, they do tend to come back,” Goodson said.

   “They see how much they learn and enjoy it, and they make connections,” Collier said. “It’s very validating to find out that they’re not alone.”

    Both organizations believe the partnership will improve health and quality of life throughout the region they serve. “We see people when they’re in crisis, and NMMC sees people when they’re in crisis,” Webb said. “If we can plug in and provide help, hopefully we can keep them from coming back to the hospital.”

   “NMMC’s tagline is ‘What Connected Feels Like,’” Cummings said. “That’s exactly what this new partnership is all about.”


Pictured left to right are FRC Executive Director Christi Webb, NMMC chief strategy officer Ormella Cummings, FRC Field Educator Claire Goodson and FRC Field Educator Stephanie Collier.

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Innocor of Baldwyn donates 1500 pillows to Beds for Kids program; volunteers coordinate delivery


Volunteers from local churches not only help to build the frames but will coordinate the acceptance of the donated materials.   These men were at Innocor Baldwyn warehouse to meet the semi-truck that came to transport the pillows to First Methodist in Tupelo. 


Left to right are valued and faithful volunteers:  Billy Roberts, Johnny Ward and Daniel Alsap.

   Innocor donated 1500 foam pillows to the Beds for Kids program, a faith-based initiative of The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi.  This program provides beds for kids that need one.  Since this program began in April 2018, over 700 beds have been delivered in the northern half of the state.  These are bed “packages” that include the frame, mattress, pillow, bedding accessories and comforter.  The program is dependent upon grants, donations and volunteers with Innocor becoming a large supporter with this donation of pillows. 

    Innocor is a national manufacturer of foam products, including mattresses and pillows. They have locations across the eastern half of the United States and a couple on the west coast.  One of those eastern locations is in Baldwyn, Mississippi, with 300+ employees.  This company partners with Serta and its customers include Kohl’s, Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club and Costco.

   The Beds for Kids program began in workshop space donated by a member of the Mount Olive Baptist Church in Baldwyn where the wood was cut, finished and made into bed frames.   This is still ongoing with volunteers manning the saws and other tools every Monday night and every Thursday morning.   Since then, the First United Methodist Church of Tupelo has joined the bed mission with their own workshop and volunteer crews.  The mission is also thriving and delivering in Calhoun County through volunteers manufacturing in the Calhoun Vo-Tech Center.  Covering the Lafayette region is the Oxford University United Methodist Church.

    The Beds for Kids program is led by Stanley Huddleston, Faith-based Coordinator for FRC, who is also the pastor at Mount Olive Baptist Church. “We (FRC) try to partner with other churches to build the frames and then we provide mattresses and all the bedding to go along with it,” Huddleston said.  This would not be easy to accomplish with the generous donations such as the pillows Innocor just provided.

    November 20th, an 18-wheel truck pulled up to the Innocor docks to pick up the 1500 pillows.  These were loaded and then delivered to the First Methodist Church in Tupelo where volunteers unloaded and stored the pillows.  The spirit of community in brotherhood is evident all across the whole program with donations of space, transports, wood-working, donations and grants.  There is much for which to be thankful because the bottom line is a kid that needs a bed will get one when the community works together.

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Jerry Milner, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau of the US Dept. of Health & Human Services, visited FRC Tupelo to kickoff new grant program


Christi Webb, Executive Director of The Family Resource Center, welcomed a new group of partners to the center on December 4th.  She, with FRC Program Director Shelia Davis, coordinated this gathering as the initial phase of a $2.7 million grant to improve child safety and well-being by engaging at-risk families.  This grant will fund a collaborative effort with the MS Dept. of Child Protective Services and a network of community partners.

Jerry Milner, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau of the US Dept. of Health & Human Services, was at the FRC Church Street facility to kick off the five-year project.  With him was his assistant David Kelly.  Also present was Taylor Cheeseman from the Mississippi Department of Child Protective Services, and David Destefano of the Stephens Group which will evaluate the project.  Many established community partners were also on hand.   

The initial phase of the network partner unity and collaboration is to find ways to avoid removing children from homes and into the foster care system.  This process will begin with first identifying the root causes that lead to these issues and determining ways to help families overcome these so that families can remain together.

The five-year grant comes from the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and will focus on engaging at-risk families in Lee County and connecting them with community-based primary prevention programs.

Pictured left to right are David Kelly, Christ Webb, Judge Staci Bevill, Taylor Cheeseman, Shelia Davis and David Destefano.

Teddy Bear Drive was huge success

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The Child Advocacy Center (CAC), part of The Family Resource Center (FRC), held its annual Teddy Bear drive on Friday, December 6th.   Support for this was awesome and FRC is so grateful to see the community behind the services provided to children who are victims of abuse, sexual assault or witnesses to abuse.  The CAC works in an MDT (multidisciplinary team) approach, partnering with law enforcement, child protective services, district attorney’s office, health providers, and mental health providers to ensure all children receive the most appropriate services based on the circumstances of the case and their need.   The attached pictures show some of the donations and support received.

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Lee Country Sheriff's Dept. awarded the Freedom Shrine by the Lee County Exchange Club and FRC


    The Lee County Exchange Club, in partnership with The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi, presented a large array of framed historical document replicas to the Lee County Sheriff’s Department on November 19, 2019, to express gratitude for community services provided.  These will be displayed an exhibit and reminder of the great efforts that have been taken to ensure our freedom.

   The Shrine is a display of historical documents photographically reproduced from the originals and permanently laminated to individual non-warping plaques.

 Developed by the National Exchange Club, the Freedom Shrine originated from the Freedom Train that toured the nation in 1947 carrying an exhibit of historic documents.


The purpose of the Freedom Shrine is twofold. It puts before young Americans proof that the freedom and greatness we enjoy today were not purchased easily and reminds them that these gifts must be cherished and protected.


Painstakingly researched to guarantee absolute authenticity, the 28 historical American documents that comprise the Shrine were carefully chosen to exemplify the beginnings of our nation and those subsequent turning points of importance which shaped our national character and eminence.

Pictured left are Donna Franks and Jim Johnson, Sheriff of Lee County, as they are accept the collection which is now hanging in the juvenile detention center in Tupelo. 

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More than a season of giving; a life now dedicated to giving back

   When Chris Hatfield first observed Kim Benefield, “it really opened my mind,” he remembered.  “It changed the way I thought about things.”  He explained that it was obvious that Benefield’s presentation was “heartfelt” and totally genuine.  “She wasn’t there just to teach; she believed in all she was teaching and she cared for us.”  He said she wasn’t there for her job; she was there so she could help them.

    The impact of Benefield and the program “changed his thinking” and has changed some other aspects of his life as well.  He is no longer a resident of CCRCF but he is now an MRT mentor for others now released and desiring to become the best they can be.  He wants to help change how others think and help other rebuild their lives.  He is now paying it forward.

The full story of a changed life is available through this link: https://www.frcnms.org/recovery

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Kim Benefield is recognized and rewarded for her efforts in recovery education and treatment

Family Resource Center of North Mississippi's own Kim Benefield has received the State Leader Award by the Recovery Advocacy Project recognizing all of her hard work and contributions to recovery advocacy in the state.

Benefield leads the Recovery Team across the northern half of the state of Mississippi for The Family Resource Center.  Her groups works in jails, prisons, schools, and other venues.

The Recovery Advocacy Project (RAP) is a network of people and organizations across the country advocating for addiction recovery policies.


RAP is committed to giving people in recovery, family members, and supporters of recovery the grassroots organizing tools to think and act locally. RAP is working to build a visible and effective constituency in demand of community and public policy based solutions in response to America’s long standing addiction crisis.

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Difficult roads can lead to beautiful destinations

Those selected to receive gifts during the Season of Giving are chosen for many different reasons.  A team at the Tupelo Family Resource Center decided to “do” Christmas for four girls who lost their mother one year ago on Christmas.  Part of their reasoning was that they know that it is sometimes very hard on the dad, step-dad in this case, who has not only lost his wife but has now assumed the addition role of mom.

The loving mom, who passed from this life after a devastating bout of cancer and treatment, was not only a parent but the teacher of her children.  They were home-schooled by their mom until this school term.  Aged 11 to 16, these four girls are now adjusting to a new learning environment, in addition to dealing with the loss of their beloved mother just a few months ago.

Randy Morgan has a good career with Toyota manufacturing and he can take care of all the parenting roles of support, housing and the like.  Understandably, he has some challenges with his dual roles and came to the Family Resource Center for help.  His girls needed literacy and tutoring support to meet the new objectives in their new schools.  Randy had first researched other sources but some of these would charge $1200 a month for each daughter, an amount that is beyond the means of many.  This is a service that is provided at no charge through the Family Resource Center. This was how it all began.

Staff at FRC has had much interaction with the girls and with the step-dad; he is a very involved parent.  They learned that even a very involved man like Randy might not understand all those “girly” needs of girls; understanding cute and pretty and feminine is not something that all in masculine roles automatically understand.

FRC staffers Taylor Pierce, Becky DeVaughn, Cynthia Gasaway, Dede Franks, and Alicia Astors sponsored a fund raiser to purchase cute and “girly” so that these girls could have a good first Christmas without their mom.  This group went shopping and filled four large bags with presents that are now under this family’s Christmas tree.  Executive Director Christi Webb joined the joy of giving and also provided each girl with a card that enclosed a cash gift.  Many find this joy of giving more rewarding than receiving.


Pictured here are (front, left to right) Brianna Garcia, Anica Garcia, Ally Garcia, Alliyah Garcia,

FRC Cynthia Gasaway.    On the back row are FRC Becky DeVaughn, Taylor Pierce and Randy Morgan.

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Iuka FRC Campus partners to give clients a party

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On Monday night, Dec. 9th, FRC Iuka Campus held their client Christmas party at the Mineral Springs Park in Iuka at the nice facility onsite where the Boys & Girls Club meets. Wal-Mart donated gift cards and food. FRC provided small toys to give the children and everyone was surprised by a visit from Santa!   About 40 local residents attended.


Way of Life Center in Tishomingo donated 20 new coats for kids to the FRC office. These will be distributed to client children first, with extras being provided to others in the community.


FRC is helping provide Christmas for two teens in the FRC Positive Youth class, with the help of outside donations.


The Tishomingo Manor raised money and bought twenty $5.00 McDonald gift cards to give to the FRC youth class. The Positive Youth had helped out with their Halloween Fall Festival and the Manor also wanted to do something nice for the young people in the program.


The PYC (Positive Youth Class) also made 100 Christmas ornaments to give the Manor patients.

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Boots on the Ground

A now annual event at the Shoe Carnival in Tupelo was started by a local girl on a mission.  Hannah Walker-Donelson started a program of “giving” to kids who needed schools because she had seen kids who were targeted for bullying because of the condition of their schools. 

Hannah partners with her mom,  Dee Donelson, with non-profit organizations and, most importantly to Hannah, with God whom she feels led her to address this need.

This year, the hard work of Hannah and her partner paid off in 50 children/client of FRC and 20 children of military deployed parents receiving shoes.  FRC associates onsite during the giveaway were Amanda Gonzolez and Megan Morris, with her two daughters: Carmen and Zoey Mettler.

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Beds for Kids program gives kids beds and smiles

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BancorpSouth makes donation to FRC Job Readiness Program

BancorpSouth in Houston presented The Family Resource Center of North Mississippi (FRC) with a donation of $500.  These funds are directed to FRC job readiness, family financial stability, literacy and increased graduation rate, positive youth development and for promoting the parenting skills program.

FRC is humbled and grateful for the generous support of BancorpSouth and other community members as we work together to help provide better lives for all Mississippians.

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FRC hosts coalition for MS Tobacco Free

   The Tupelo Campus of The Family Resource Center hosted the second quarterly meeting of the Lee and Chickasaw Counties, MS Tobacco Free Coalition.  They are part of a group of community-based coalitions that work to prevent the initiation of tobacco use among youth, reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, promote tobacco cessation services, and eliminate tobacco-related disparities. The coalitions partner with schools, faith-based and community service organizations, businesses, and a number of health advocacy organizations to provide education and resources to the communities that they serve, and provide assistance to Mississippi municipalities in working towards comprehensive smoke-free ordinances.

    Pictured here is FRC Shatara Agnew who leads the group in preparing each community representative for awareness campaigns and youth activities/events.

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Single mom adds four more children to home

Beds for Kids made a delivery of four beds to a single mom of one precious little girl. This little girl has four new siblings, ages 10-17. This is a picture of two of the four beds added to the home that is now a family of five kids! The Beds for Kids program works closely with MDCPS and the foster care system to assure that Mississippi families have beds for children to sleep in.

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Calhoun Woodmen of the World presented the Calhoun FRC Campus with a new FLAG on Veteran's Day.

FRC loves that the community understands that we are all in this together and ready to support each other!
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Couple working to overcome impossible obstacles

Meet Daniel and Melanie Stewart and hear their story.  They are in recovery and rebuilding through the Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) program which has helped give them direction and hope in their journey of recovery.  They fell from stable and promising lives into a world of drugs, lost their way and ended up on a current that was pulling them under and from which they saw no way of overcoming.  They had lost not only their hope but a place to live and Daniel’s two precious children to the state because they were unable to properly care for them.

Moving from this hopelessness to a place where they are currently in a house, a home, for the first time in years and are current working to be able to adopt their children back to their home is happening now because of MRT through FRC, the FRC team, the community support and hope renewed.   Read their full story:   https://www.frcnms.org/recovery

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The Family Resource Center – DeSoto Campus hosted its second annual Thanksgiving Food Drive to support families in need in North Mississippi. “With the help of our community, we were able to serve more than 85 families this year which translated to more than 390 individuals,” said Mallory Trollinger, Field Educator for the Family Resource Center’s Hernando Campus and coordinator for this event. “This is such a generous community and we are so grateful for everyone’s willingness to help and serve!”


The families served by the DeSoto Team were nominated by individuals and agencies in the community. Family Resource Center staff conducted full family assessments to see how our agency and other partner agencies could assist the family in meeting other needs, as well. “Many of the families who come for a Thanksgiving basket have other needs that can be met by the FRC and other local agencies, “ said Abby De Oto, Regional Coordinator for the Family Resource Center – DeSoto Campus. “Our mission is to impact the entire family by connecting the dots between all of the Mississippi family services and this is exactly what we strive to do every day. We know that we can’t satisfy every need, but we do know that there are other agencies and individuals who are willing to step in when we cannot.”


   This year, the Hernando Kroger Co. permitted the Family Resource Center to solicit donations. With the help of the community and

volunteers, Family Resource Center was able to collect nine full grocery carts of food and $465 to buy other items that were needed to fill in the gaps before the families came to collect their food baskets.


DeSoto County Career Technology Center West donated 905 various types of canned food for a community service project to assist Family Resource Center with their food drive. Horn Lake Middle School’s National Honor Society coordinated a food drive that supplied two car loads full of food. The Gale Center in Hernando and Kenco Logistics put forth donations to sponsor multiple families. Individual donors also generously provided both monetary and food donations.


“Service is my passion,” said Trollinger. “And working for the Family Resource Center allows me to give back to the community by organizing events such as the Thanksgiving Food Drive and our upcoming Holiday Toy Drive.”


The Family Resource Center is also hosting a Holiday Gift Drive for families in our community. Donations of new gifts, gift cards, and cash are being accepted to serve children ages 0-18. Community members who feel compelled to donate may contact the center at 662-912-5900 or drop items off at 3246 HWY 51 S., Ste. 1 in Hernando. Toy and gift donations will be accepted until December 13th.

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Trauma and Resilience Training

Pictured here are Youth Court Judge Staci Bevill, FRC Program Director Shelia Davis, Recovery Program Coordinator Kim Benefield, Instructor Angela Mallette, Instructor Tami Dean, and FRC Executive Director Christi Webb.


The Family Resource Center takes professional development seriously.  The entire staff has been mandated to take Trauma and Resilience training in order to better understand clients who are experiencing the harmful effects of trauma.

This weekly training for four weeks resulted in the majority of the staff already having received their certificate of completion.

Angela Mallette, Director at Mississippi LEAD, led the training onsite for the FRC Tupelo staff with a webinar/conference broadcast to all the outlying FRC campus staff in over a dozen other locations.  She shared this instruction with Tamritha (Tami) Dean who is also a Certified Peer Support Specialist.

 The curriculum is founded on an understanding of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) and the impact of these on brain and other development.  In addition, those professionals working with clients with ACE become more prepared through this training to guide the victims to a stronger resilience.

Pictured right is Angela Mallette (on right) as she leads the four-hour sessions in trauma and resilience.  Not pictured here, Mallette is working with Tami Dean in instruction, interactive exercises and videos.

Pictured here are Youth Court Judge Staci Bevill, FRC Program Director Shelia Davis, Recovery Program Coordinator Kim Benefield, Instructor Angela Mallette, Instructor Tami Dean, and FRC Executive Director Christi Webb.

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