Donations from the toy and food drive will go toward Salvation Army’s Angel Tree project, which works to fulfill Christmas wish lists of families in need.
Maj. Sue Dorman, senior officer for Northeast Mississippi’s Salvation Army, said this year parents who need help with gifts for their children are asking for educational toys and games.
Books are also in demand this year. Dorman said she has received many requests for Nancy Drew-type mystery books as well as other popular novels for children.
As always, nonperishable food items always are welcome.
Most needed, however, is clothing.
“There’s a great need for basics like socks and underwear. If you’re a family who is struggling, you keep wearing everything you have until it’s worn out,” Dorman said.
Hooded sweatshirts – “hoodies” – also are a kid favorite not only for style, but also for their versatility in Northeast Mississippi’s inconsistent winter weather.
Dorman said kids grow so fast it is hard for struggling families to keep up. However, families who are able are encouraged to donate their lightly used clothing that, for the same reasons, are sometimes practically brand new.
“Kids want something new for Christmas,” Dorman said. “Even families who can afford to buy new things are having a hard time, but many families are faced with the question, ‘do I put food on my table, or buy this?’”
The toy and food drive is one of a succession of monthly projects the Tupelo Flea Market will host in conjunction with The Salvation Army.
Another toy and food drive will be Dec. 7-9.
In January, the Army will pack gift boxes to send to U.S. military troops serving overseas, February will promote Alzheimer’s awareness and March will work toward breast cancer awareness.
“The Tupelo Flea Market is a major contributor in resources, but they also open their doors and allow us to use their building,” Dorman said.
Kevin Siddon, the president of the Tupelo Furniture Market where the flea market is held, said the market wants to help raise the profile of nonprofit organizations, civic groups and their causes in the community.
The market has long supported events like Celebration Village and the Empty Bowl luncheon, and officials hope the thousands of visitors attending each monthly flea market will share their generosity with the charitable organizations.
For more information on how to participate, call the market at (662) 842-4442.
Business editor Dennis Seid contributed to this story.