Children’s home serves young citizens

Published 12:01 am Sunday, December 11, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Na’Jaylan Butler, from left, Destini Bailey and Jamarii White help put ornaments on the Christmas tree inside the Natchez Children Home Friday.

NATCHEZ — Employees and volunteers at the Natchez Children’s Home want to ensure that today’s children are equipped to contribute to the community tomorrow.

But they always need a little help.

Justin Burch, director of development at the children’s home, said the home serves the community through several programs, including foster families, individual, group and family counseling, a academic behavior program, a thrift shop, advocacy centers for children and families and mission trip opportunities.

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The children’s home no longer houses children at the Union Street house, but instead manages the foster family placements of children who are removed from their primary homes. Burch said the building is used to offer aid to families in crisis.

“We teach children academics and behavior, and parents how to properly parent their children,” Burch said.

While the staff of the Natchez Children’s Home has those bases covered, the community can help with donations — the kind that can be ripped from a checkbook, picked up at the store, gleaned from a closet or scheduled on a volunteer log.

“The children’s home needs anything a regular home would need, just more of it,” Burch said. “Like cleaning supplies, clothing for kids and food. School supplies are always a big need here — especially construction paper, glue sticks and craft stuff. But I think we have enough crayons to last us until 2025.”

Canned food is accepted since the home provides breakfast, lunch, a snack and sometimes sends children home with dinner.

Books made entirely of cardboard, so the pages cannot be ripped out, are also needed.

Burch said he knows one of the biggest wishes for the Natchez Children’s Home is a long shot, but the staff hopes for, and needs, a laminating machine.

“I know (a laminator) is the big thing on everyone’s wish list,” Burch said. “We’ve had our fingers crossed for about a year.”

Burch said the home asks that donations of clothing be new or lightly-worn.

“We usually get a lot of stuff for little boys,” Burch said. “But little girls’ sizes 3T to 4T clothing is needed. We don’t need just shirts and pants, but socks and shoes are a real big need too.”

Burch said contributions of time are needed as well.

“We have a volunteering program, and love to have (community members) volunteer,” Burch said.

“And we love to work with local high schools. We have a program for students to come work.”

Donations can be designated to particular programs.

To make monetary donations to the Natchez Children’s Home, call or bring them by the location at 806 N. Union St., or mail donations to P.O. Box 2028 Natchez, MS 39121. Supplies and clothing can also be brought to this location. Call 601-442-6858 for more information.