As the holiday season quickly approaches, bringing all its shopping and preparations, University of Mississippi faculty, staff and students are once again asked to become “Santa’s little helpers.”
The 18th annual Books and Bears program begins soon across campus. Sponsored by the UM Black Faculty and Staff Organization, the event is an opportunity to assist Facilities Management Department employees and their children by purchasing and donating books and toys to be given away Dec. 18 on campus.
Items may be dropped off on the third floor of the Robert C. Khayat Law Center, the Graduate School, second floor of Vardaman Hall, first floor of Ventress Hall, the Office of the Provost in the Lyceum, the Ticket Office in the Ole Miss Student Union, Room 308 of Howery Hall, Room 305 of Hume Hall, Farley Hall, the Yerby Center, the Career Center in Martindale Hall, Powers Hall, the Learning Resources Center in the Lucky Day Residential College, Room C-135 of Bondurant Hall and Room 310 of Bishop Hall.
Smiles abounded last year in the Gertrude Castellow Ford Ballroom at the Inn at Ole Miss as BFSO members distributed more than 1,000 gifts through the program. The items were donated by UM faculty, staff, students and alumni over a three-week period. The number of presents given hit a new record.
Reception at the event was enthusiastic.
“Without this event, lots of kids wouldn’t have very much on Christmas Day,” said Pauline Beard of Oxford, a general maintenance worker. “Every little bit helps and a little goes a long way.”
Donations are appreciated by BFSO officials.
“The thoughtfulness and outpouring of support from the UM family has been nothing short of amazing each year,” said Donald Cole, associate provost and assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs. “By helping others, we have truly captured the spirit of the holidays.”
New teddy bears, children’s books and toys have been collected for children of custodial and grounds workers since 1997.