by Sophie McNeil Wolf

Mississippi may be the poorest state, but our residents have hearts of gold. The stats say it all: The Magnolia State is always at the top of the charitable giving lists. (One we are proud to be at the top of, thank you.) Sure, we can all click a button and donate to XYZ charity of choice. Want to take it a step further and get involved in your own community? Here are five ways to help make Jackson a better place, on this #GivingTuesday.

Ronald McDonald House
Nestled next to Old Canton Road on the University of Mississippi Medical Center campus, Ronald McDonald House serves as a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children who travel to Jackson for medical care. Volunteers are vital to the day-to-day operations of the home, from preparing meals to housekeeping and front desk greeters. Ronald McDonald House also has a running wish list of supply items.

Ronald McDonald House

Keep Jackson Beautiful
Incorporated over 50 years ago in 1961 by civic and business leaders, Keep Jackson Beautiful is dedicated to changing attitudes and behavior towards environmental issues such as littering and recycling. KJB keeps a hefty calendar where individuals can plug in around town, or can sign up to “love their block.” Have a teen interested in the environment? Apply to their action-based environmental stewardship program as an Eco-Ambassador! Email keepjacksonbeautiful@gmail.com.

Keep Jackson Beautiful

Batson Children’s Hospital
Want to help Mississippi’s only hospital solely dedicated to children? There are many ways to help the mission of Friends of Children’s Hospital and Batson Children’s Hospital. FOCH encourages communities to host fundraisers, assist in registration at events, sell raffle tickets or event man a water station at a 5K supporting their charity. Looking to volunteer at the hospital? Batson Children’s Hospital volunteers go through an application process and work with the volunteer coordinator to schedule. For more information, visit UMMChealth.com/Volunteer.

Batson Children’s Hospital. Image: Batson

Society of St. Andrew
The Society of St. Andrew, a part of Mississippi’s gleaning network, connects farmers with unsold or unpicked crops to those who need food. Andy Lemmon is the state coordinator for the effort and manages three groups: farmers who are willing to let volunteers glean their fields; volunteer groups willing to glean or clean and groups who prepare or distribute food for those who need it. Anyone interested in scheduling a service project or learning more about partnering with the Society of St. Andrew can contact Lemmon at (769) 233-0887, email GleanMS@EndHunger.org or check out the group’s website, endhunger.org.

St. Andrew’s Society

Fondren Renaissance
With a renewed vigor for community partnerships, Boyd Elementary has already been a big benefactor this year of FRF’s generosity. A recent cleanup day has lead to ongoing raised garden bed maintenance and will soon shift to playground improvements. Through the adopt-a-school program, FRF is providing summer reading books, music lessons and art camps. Hands-on volunteers and financial donations are needed to help the program grow and thrive. For more information or to give, visit fondren.org.

FRF working at Boyd Elementary.

Other ways to get involved and give: Red Door | United Methodist Volunteers in MissionWomen’s Foundation of Mississippi | Ask For More Jackson | Bike Walk Mississippi | Good Samaritan Center | Mississippi Public Broadcasting | Babalu Tapas & Tacos Myles’ Taco Shop Go Fund Me