DeSoto's Kids

(From left) Lindsey Samples, Claudia Fox, Lauren Norton, Jamie Cooper and Melonie Goolsby are part of the Junior Auxiliary of DeSoto County benefiting from the donation that is providing the program DeSoto's Kids.

An anonymous donor has given a generous grant to Junior Auxiliary of DeSoto County through his Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi (CFNM) to benefit a program called DeSoto County’s Kids.

“A Donor Advised Fund is like a charitable checking account," said CFNM president Tom Pittman. "The donor gets the tax break at the time of the gift and is able to recommend grants to any nonprofit, church or school. "Donor Advised Funds are like a private foundation, but the donor is not responsible for accounting, auditing, or filing tax returns – the Community Foundation does all of the record keeping and tax reporting.”

“Junior Auxiliary DeSoto, along with the anonymous donor, formed DeSoto’s Kids, which is a service project created to provide short-term financial assistance to children with immediate needs or wants,” said Ashley Turner, President of Junior Auxiliary DeSoto. “We rely on referrals from teachers, social workers and counselors, police departments, child protective services, churches, etc., to help identify children with needs; and, to preserve the dignity of the child and their parents, we give gifts anonymously.”

The mission of DeSoto's Kids is to enhance the overall well-being of children in DeSoto County by providing them with wants/needs that they may not be able to receive from their family. Items could include clothing, new shoes, eyeglasses, medical and dental care, lice treatment, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, cost of a field trip, etc. There is a $50-$100 limit per child.

“Every day children go to school without nice clothes, shoes with holes, and some don’t even have a backpack," explained Turner. "Some children may not even receive a cake or gift on their birthday. We don’t want children and their parents to worry about these things.”

Teachers, social workers, counselors, child protective services, police departments, and a charitable organization’s staff see these situations every day; however, they are usually not able to provide the short-term financial assistance necessary to help these children.

These situations may seem minor to many people, but not to the child. Living without some of these basic items not only can affect that child’s ability to learn, but it can also seriously impact the child’s well-being.

“Our goal is to help raise the self-esteem of a child in need and take worry off their parents” said Turner. “Children with a healthy self-esteem feel good about themselves, do better in school and are more successful. We believe a little help can go a long way.”

The Community Foundation manages 237 donor-established funds and has disbursed over $22 million to support more than 700 charitable organizations and activities recommended by its donors, as well as charitable programs established by the foundation.

Established in 2002 with a generous grant from the Maddox Foundation, the Community Foundation is an independent 501(c)3 charitable organization. The Foundation serves Bolivar, Coahoma, DeSoto, Leflore, Marshall, Panola, Quitman, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tate, and Tunica counties.

A board of 19 volunteer civic leaders governs the Community Foundation. Learn more about the Community Foundation at www.cfnm.org or call 662-449-5002.