Students collect items for the needy

TUPELO – They didn’t have reindeer or a sleigh, but students from Lawhon Elementary school ferried gifts to recipients across Lee County on Thursday.
For the last two weeks, students and teachers at the third- to fifth-grade school have been collecting a variety of items – dog and cat food for the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society; toys for the pediatric unit at the North Mississippi Medical Center; toothpaste and soap for Helping Hands; garbage bags and paper towels for Sanctuary Hospice House; throw blankets for the Salvation Army and canned goods for Alpha House for Boys, SAFE Inc., Gardner-Simmons Home for Girls and Faith Haven.
The boxes piled high in school’s foyer. On Thursday, groups of students delivered the items to each of their locations.
“We talked about compassion for members in the community and how the students can make a difference in other people’s lives,” said Lawhon Assistant Principal Cindy Pike.
Debbie Hood, executive director of the Humane Society, said the shelter received more donations from students than usual this year, receiving items from Pierce Street Elementary School, Tupelo Christian Preparatory School, Saltillo Elementary, Lawhon, Tupelo High School and Ole Miss.
“We’re overwhelmed with the generous donations from our local students,” Hood said.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or at

Student generosity
In addition to Lawhon, several other Tupelo and Lee County schools donated items to the needy this holiday season:
– Shannon Elementary: With help of the PTO, collected food and toys for members of the community. They also donated coats to Coats for Kids, and the students sent letters and supplies to soldiers in Iraq.
– Tupelo Middle: Through a keyboard challenge in which sponsors pledged money, Information and Communication Technology students raised $2,254.36 for Angel Tree and $1,459.02 for the Salvation Army food pantry.
– Rankin Elementary: Challenge students designed their own Christmas ornaments and sold them to benefit Project Hope.
– Plantersville Middle: Students adopted 12 senior citizens at the Riverbirch senior home and also brought canned goods to families in the community.

Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio