Volunteers unload produce at Good Samaritan Center in Midtown Jackson. Image: Good Sam

There is no shortage of generosity in the state of Mississippi.

Right here in JXN, folks selflessly line up to help when there’s a need.

We’re looking at organizations today and how they are stepping up during COVID-19.

When it comes to first responders and frontline workers, Jacksonians recognize the significant contributions that they make daily. 

At Aplos in Highland Village, the restaurant’s Aplos Cares first responder food drive matches 100% of restaurant patron donations. Last week, Aplos noted that, with $1,000 in their Venmo account, they would deliver $2,000 worth of food to St. Dominic’s. 

Back in Fondren, Aladdin Mediterranean Grill and Grocery has given away meals to 32 healthcare and restaurant workers. The donations are from digital gift cards purchased by the community as a thank you to various community servants. Those include nurses, medical assistants, bartenders, physicians, food & nutrition service employees and others. 

Visit Jackson is participating in “Good Food in Gratitude,” a campaign began locally by ad agency MWB, pairing doctors, nurses, and others in the medical field with a delivery from a Jackson restaurant. Team members at Visit Jackson are choosing neighbors, friends, or their healthcare heroes to recognize this month. The campaign hopes to extend beyond a single organization’s efforts. Like MWB before who took on the task in week one, Visit Jackson asks other companies to adopt the idea and keep it moving.

In JXN’s Midtown Neighborhood, Good Samaritan Center quietly feeds and clothes hundreds, maybe thousands of families each year. Their executive director, Kathy Clem’s mantra is, “If you can get here, we will help. And if we can’t help, we will find someone who can.”

Because of high unemployment rates, “Good Sam” is seeing a record need. They’ve partnered with Hattiesburg-based Extra Table, a statewide food bank founded by restaurateur, Robert St. John. Extra Table is saving produce from going to waste and milk from being poured out, getting both into the hands of families that need it the most. 

On the medical fundraising front,  Regions Bank on Thursday announced a contribution of up to $50,000 to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in support of UMMC’s comprehensive work to serve patients, families and communities affected by COVID-19.

These funds will be used as part of a matching gift option designed to help increase financial support for immediate needs across the Medical Center. For every dollar raised in support of UMMC’s COVID-19 response efforts, Regions Bank will provide a dollar-for-dollar match up to $50,000.

In Fondren, Sow Reap Feed was founded by Keith Elliott to fight hunger and food insecurity. The organization’s first micro-farm was planted in the Broadmeadow neighborhood to teach people where their food comes from and empower them to grow their own food.

During COVID-19, the organization has been preparing meals for students currently away from school buildings, a place they could count on for at least one, if not two meals each day. 

Image: Sow Reap Feed

On the event front, last month, hundreds of folks should have lined up to march in Hal’s St. Paddy’s Parade (and thousands more would have lined to the streets to watch) had it not been for the event’s cancellation.

The parade and associated weekend activities like the Patty Peck Honda Doo Dah Day New Car Giveaway and Sweet Potato Queens Weekend are fundraisers for Children’s of Mississippi in Fondren. The organization is still seeking community support.

Part of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Children’s of Mississippi, is the home of Batson Children’s Hospital, the state’s only children’s hospital, plus clinics statewide. Their pediatric doctors specialize in caring for children from birth through the teen years all across Mississippi. It’s the only children’s hospital in the state, and, where every patient, regardless of family income, is treated.

Finally – for now (we’ll add to this list as other efforts arise) – downtown-based Stewpot Community Services annually hosts Taste of Mississippi. The delicious night of “all-you-care-to-sample” food and drink brings a paying crowd to The South to raise money to feed the homeless population in Jackson. That effort is ongoing, despite the pandemic.

Founded in 1981 by seven churches across denominational lines, Stewpot offers a daily noontime meal, a Food Pantry, homeless shelters for men, and women and children, counseling, job placement and transportation assistance. 

If you feel lead to share some of that Mississippi-famous generosity with the organizations we mentioned, do so with the links below.

Aplos Cares | Aladdin Gift Card Drive | Good Food In Gratitude | Good Samaritan Center | Extra Table | Regions Bank/UMMC | Sow Reap Feed | Children’s of Mississippi | Stewpot Community Services