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Mississippians shine when it comes to charitable giving

    Mississippians dig deeper in their pockets when it comes to giving. We always rank high in national surveys…

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Mississippians shine when it comes to charitable giving

    Mississippians dig deeper in their pockets when it comes to giving. We always rank high in national surveys in the percentage of income donated each year to church and charity.
    There are many other ways to give, of course, from donations of clothing to Christmas toy drives, and Mississippians are no slackers there either.
    Our notable generosity may seem ironic, given that Mississippi is considered a “poor” state. Yet I think we are rich in the things that matter most in life.
    A case in point: Volunteerism is alive and well in Mississippi. Our cover story in this issue concerns the Mississippi Food Network, the state’s only food bank. It came about in the mid-1980s because enough of our caring citizens wanted to help alleviate hunger due to poverty.
    The incidence of hunger seemed to balloon after the Great Recession, when many lost their jobs and more seniors joined the ranks of the hungry.
    Today, one in four Mississippians in MFN’s 56-county service territory is at risk of real hunger. Many are low-income wage earners whose paychecks and supplemental benefits play out before the end of the month.
    If people can get a few groceries to live on toward the end of the month when the need is greatest, they don’t have to choose between buying medicine and eating. Their kids can concentrate on school work better when their stomach doesn’t ache from hunger.
    Although the issue of hunger still looms large in Mississippi, the folks at MFN have made incredible progress in helping hundreds of thousands of school children, seniors, people with disabilities and working families.
    As you’ll see in our story, MFN has grown to become highly efficient in obtaining food in bulk, warehousing it and then distributing it to member churches and nonprofit organizations across the state.
    None of this would mean much, however, without the army of enthusiastic volunteers that collect, sort, box and give out the food from community food pantries, many of them operated by churches, and other feeding programs. MFN couldn’t operate without the efforts of these dedicated volunteers.
    Equally important are the generous donors, including the Mississippians who contribute to local food and fund drives to support MFN’s mission.
    Ninety-seven percent of the money donated to MFN goes directly to support its services and programs.
    I’m impressed that MFN can turn a $10 donation into 70 meals.
    Charitable giving is where Mississippi shines. Let’s keep that light shining bright not only through the holiday season but every day of the year.

    Speaking of lights, your family may enjoy a lot of shiny, sparkling bling at Christmas time. But don’t let your decorations turn deadly. Live Christmas trees can pose a real fire hazard, especially when they’re dried out. Fires due to Christmas trees are uncommon, but when they do happen they are likely to be serious, even life threatening.
    Make sure your Christmas tree has fresh, green needles. Before placing the tree in a stand, cut a couple of inches from the base of the trunk so it can drink, and add water to the stand daily.
    Place the tree at least 3 feet away from any type of heat source, including the fireplace, portable heater, heating vent and the like.
    Never burn candles on or near a Christmas tree, and turn off the tree lights and all other decorative lights before leaving home or going to bed.
    And above all, have a very happy and safe holiday season!

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