From the archives: Middle school students stage coat drive for winter

Originally published December 2015

Most St. Joseph Catholic School students are blessed to live comfortable lives. They have all the necessities they need, while others aren’t as lucky.

Many Mississippians live in poverty. Some don’t have homes. Others don’t have nice clothes, especially during the cold winter months.

Poverty isn’t just a local problem. Millions of people around the world are affected. Poverty doesn’t just touch adults; children also experience it.

In fact, poverty can have extremely harmful effects on children that include a higher risk of chronic illnesses, a decrease in growth, a lack of education, and a lack of decent medical attention.

You can help solve these problems by donating money to charities, having a community food or clothes drive, or reaching out to a neighbor in need. You never know who needs help until you ask.

It’s quite a stretch to say that the St. Joe community can completely wipe out poverty alone. But we can certainly help make a large difference in our community.

That’s why, working together as a school, we can help.

Mrs. Brenda Cofer, the St. Joe middle school social studies teacher, teaches us that “we are insulated in our own little worlds, and we must be intentional about helping others who are less fortunate than we are.”

So, this holiday season, the middle school students decided to do their part by sponsoring a coat drive. Although poverty exists worldwide, the middle school is focusing on the less fortunate in our area.

The need is more than apparent. Seventh-grader Abby Starnes mentioned seeing people on the streets in downtown Jackson begging for money.

Another seventh-grader, Augusta Hirn, talked about how students have a house and a heater when it’s cold, but “there are people outside without those necessities.”

And Mrs. Elise Bingham, the seventh-grade science teacher, said poverty is a serious issue.

“It is very hard to realize that we probably know people living in poverty and we don’t even know it,” she said.

Poverty seems to exist everywhere, and it seems more and more people are falling into it. We, as a community, must help everyone struck down by poverty, famine, and abandonment.

More people can and should be involved in the fight against poverty. The world will never change if someone doesn’t take the first step.

Anyone can make a difference in this world. All you need is a strong will to do so, and we believe that anyone here at St. Joe can take a stand. That’s why the middle school staged a successful coat drive.

What will you do?