Students help decorate bags for new Thanksgiving charity

Published 9:00 am Sunday, September 26, 2021

Jennifer Rosso’s art students at Adams County Christian School got into the spirit of Thanksgiving a little early this year as they decorated gift bags to give away to an all-new holiday charity, Natchez Community Thanksgiving Inc.

The students decorated 400 brown paper bags, which will all be stuffed with candy and some fruit and given away at party favors at a free community meal that will be served at the Natchez Convention Center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

“The idea as that they will not only come and eat a Thanksgiving meal but will also have a little something to take with them when they leave,” said Natchez Community Thanksgiving founder, Karla Brown.

The Thanksgiving meal will be free for everyone with no criteria or strings attached.

Some students decorated their bags with stickers and friendly notes while the brave or more artistically inclined students drew turkeys and pilgrims on theirs. 

“It feels really good to be doing this because I know we’re putting a smile on someone’s face,” said Carrie Russel, 10th grader at ACCS.

“I’m having all of my art classes decorate the bags,” Rosso said. “By the time we’re through, we’ll have 400 of them all decorated by hand.”

While the community Thanksgiving is new to Natchez, Brown started the first similar charity in Kansas a little more than 25 years ago. The idea came to her because she felt lonely, was a long way away from family and could find nothing else to do on Thanksgiving Day and no one to spend the holiday with. 

Though she has since moved on to other places, the charity continues to serve people year after year. 

Brown said she would like to get more students volunteers to help out with what she hopes to become an annual charitable event in Natchez.

“I’d like to get the basketball kids—and I say basketball because it would be that time of year — to come volunteer an hour or two before Thanksgiving to help get things ready and on Thanksgiving Day to help serve the food,” Brown said. “If we have enough young, ambitious kids come volunteer, they could go through and line and put together the meal and bring it to the older guests at their table.”

Brown said some of the students at ACCS have already agreed to it and she would like to get other students from Natchez High School and Cathedral involved. 

The cause will not only benefit other people but also local businesses, Brown said. The organization has arranged to buy all of the needed food from The Markets. 

“We’re tentatively planning to feed 400 people,” Brown said. “Because it’s the first year, we have no idea how many to expect.”

Brown asked those planning to attend the Community Thanksgiving to RSVP by texting her at 907-540-0001. Those interested in volunteering can call or text Brown for details, she said.

Monetary donations are also a must to help purchase the Thanksgiving food with all the fixings. 

Natchez Community Thanksgiving Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization to which people can make tax-deductible donations.

Checks can be made out to Natchez Community Thanksgiving Inc. or NCT, Inc. and mailed to P.O. Box 2265, Natchez, MS, 39121.