Teens serve shelter

Published 12:11 am Monday, February 2, 2009

NATCHEZ — Recognizing a need in their community, and working to fill it, some local young people headed to the steps of the Natchez Council Chambers Saturday afternoon.

The group of youngsters are all part of the Mayor’s Youth Council and were collecting donations for the Guardian Shelter.

The shelter gives 30 days of emergency housing for women and children fleeing abusive living situations and serves 11 surrounding counties.

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The council does monthly community service projects, picked by its members, and this month’s project was an eye-opener for some.

“I didn’t even know there was a place like this,” said Nick Brooks, a member of the youth council.

Brooks said after seeing the shelter and realizing the need it fills in the community — he’s glad he helped out.

“We’ve never done something like that before,” he said. “But I’m glad we did.”

Natchez Community Development Director Darlene Jones helps to coordinate the council and said she was proud to see the members pick such a worthy service project.

“It shows they’re thinking about what the community needs,” Jones said.

Shelter director Donna Miller said Saturday’s collection helped to fill many of the Guardian Shelter’s needs.

“It was fantastic to get all their donations,” Miller said. “It was totally unexpected.”

That’s because Jones and the youth council coordinated the collection to be a surprise.

Jones said the collection netted clothing for women and children, diapers, toys, household items and even some cash.

“We’re very pleased with the outcome,” Jones said.

And the donations were badly needed at the shelter, Jones said.

“As soon as we got there, some of the stuff was immediately disbursed,” Jones said.

Miller said that this time of year is actually when charities like the Guardian Shelter are in the greatest need.

“A lot of people make donations before and during the holidays,” Miller said.

“After that is the time when we need a lot of help. So this was tremendous.”

Donations to the Guardian Shelter can be made at P.O. Box 1225, Natchez, MS 39120, or by calling 601-442-0142.