Pageant winner helps raise money, food for homeless

“I can’t believe how generous people are,” volunteer Danille Short said about customers who left Kroger with bags of food they donated Saturday.
Three organizations came together Aug. 20 at the West Main Kroger to receive monetary and food donations. Short, Amy Giorgenti and Amy’s 6-year-old daughter, Arianna, greeted customers at the store to let them know about the food drive.
The Miss Heart of America Pageant, based in Florida, often contributes food received as a part of the process they require of pageant contestants. Participants range in age from 5 years-old to 21 and older. The goal of the pageant is to provide to those in need in the community, wherever the pageant is held. Arianna Giorgenti won a queen’s crown and sash for her community service. Her mom helped, some, of course. Amy is a member of Helping Hands Helping Homeless, a Lee County-based coalition of organizations raising funds to help find housing for the homeless in Lee County. Amy, in association with The Miss Heart of America pageant, chose Quad H and Stone Soup Ministry as the recipients of the donations Amy helped raise.
“A lot of people don’t know there’s people sleeping under the bridge (in Tupelo),” Amy Giorgenti said. “When a 6-year old tells you they want to help homeless, it opens your eyes. A lot of people don’t know where they’re going to eat or sleep. We’re fortunate.”
Proceeds from the fundraising will be shared between Stone Soup and Quad H. “I’d estimate maybe $250 in our jar today,” said Short. Bags of donated canned and boxed items were stacked behind the table as well.
Why does someone stand for hours in the heat and humidity collecting food for others? “I don’t like to see people hurting,” Short said. “We have three meals a day, a house, cars. I just want to give back.”
The next Miss Heart of America Pageant will be Sept. 24 in Jackson. To donate items for Quad H and Stone Soup Ministry, contact Melissa Pound: (662) 255-1719
According to Rev. Paul Stephens of All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Tupelo, the Mayor’s office is in the process of notifying the new appointees to the new task force on homelessness. Stephens is one of five appointees who will serve on the committee.

Phil Hennin/Special to Lee County Neighbors