S.A.F.E. food drive to provide holiday meals for needy

By JB Clark

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Tupelo’s S.A.F.E. domestic and sexual violence victims advocacy center is collecting food to help provide holiday meals to its clients and former clients.

The holidays are a time usually spent with family and being thankful for blessings, but S.A.F.E. Community Educator Amelia Parkes said many of the women who have used their services have had to leave families due to domestic violence and with that relocation, their means of income.

S.A.F.E. Director Deborah Yates said the center hopes to provide meals to 10 of its clients and former clients this year and needs help from the community due to a decrease in USDA food bank donations.

Stella Gaines, 67, of Tupelo, left an abusive relationship in December 2006, moving from Corinth to Tupelo. She said having the volunteers and meals, especially the holiday meals, helped her get through her relocation.

“It’s important because when I left, I started from nothing,” Gaines said. “I had to leave everything.”

Parkes said S.A.F.E. is asking for donations of canned yams, canned beans, turkeys, hams, boxed cake mixes, icing, potatoes, corn, corn meal and fresh fruit. “We just want to give them stuff you would see around the holidays in a Norman Rockwell painting,” she said.

Anyone wanting to help can call (662) 841-9138 or drop off donations at the Clark Street Office.

jb.clark@journalinc.com