Oxonians donate backpacks for homeless

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – The homeless folks Oxford sees are typically passing through on their way to somewhere else. Margaret King is one of the residents who believes the community should have an impact while they’re here.
“We do have transients,” she said. “I know that (Interfaith Compassion Ministries) puts them up in the Ole Miss Motel for a few nights before they move on.”
King got an idea from a friend in Franklin, Tenn., for buying backpacks and then filling them with food, toiletries and some basic clothing, which can then be given to folks in such trying circumstances.
“This is probably a Band-Aid, but it helps,” she said. “A week’s worth of food, a towel, maybe a T-shirt and some socks would help make them more comfortable.” King also suggested such toiletries as a bar of soap, a razor, toothbrush and toothpaste, along with a garbage bag that could, in a pinch, substitute for a poncho.
Along with canned meats, canned fruits and vegetables, she hopes to have a can opener – for obvious reasons – in each kit.
“In the winter we’ll include a knit cap and a pair of gloves. Right now, as hot as it is, it’s hard to imagine needing those,” she joked.
King said the backpack program in Oxford would not have to be extensive to meet a very real need.
“It seems like such an easy thing to do,” she said. “This community comes together very easily to help people. Homelessness here is not a huge problem, but it is a problem.”
King hopes one benefit of bringing her friend’s idea of backpacks for the homeless to Oxford will be to spread the idea to other communities in the region.
“This is something that could be done anywhere,” she said.
Contact Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or errol.castens@journalinc.com.