Community Service & Volunteerism

Published on December 7th, 2020 | by TLV News


Donations Sought for 23rd Annual Books and Bears Program

UM community asked to donate funds for Facilities Management employees’ children

For 22 years, University of Mississippi students, faculty, and staff have purchased and donated toys and books for the children of its Facilities Management Department employees through the annual Books and Bears program.

This year, because of COVID-19 restrictions, both the gifts and their manner of distribution will be different.

In lieu of actual books and bears, the Ole Miss community is asked to donate funds to purchase gift cards. Donations are being accepted through December 11.

Rather than the traditional gathering with music, food, and the drawing of names, employees will be given the cards December 17 via a “drive-by celebration.” The event is set for 11:45 am at the Jackson Avenue Center.

“Facilities Management workers have indeed been our ‘essential workers’ this year,” said Jackie Certion, assistant director of the Foundations for Academic Success Track Program and Books and Bears Committee chairperson. “This is a token of our appreciation to them for all they do to keep our workspaces safe.”

Books and Bears serves between 300 and 350 service workers annually. Amidst COVID-19 policies restricting social gatherings and other hardships, Facilities Management employees have continued working to ensure everyone’s safety during this challenging time.

“We greatly appreciate their commitment and efforts to serving the university,” Certion said.

The goal is $6,000. Checks, made payable to UM Books and Bears, should be taken to any location of the Mississippi Federal Credit Union and deposited in account No. 1001032546. Donations also can be made via PayPal, with the funds sent to

“I am anticipating another successful event this year,” Certion said. “On behalf of the Books and Bears Committee, I thank you for your generosity.”

Donald Cole, former assistant provost and assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs emeritus, and Janice Murray, associate dean of liberal arts and professor of art emeritus, organized the first Books and Bears in 1997 to help custodial staff provide Christmas gifts to their children. Spread by word-of-mouth only, the initial response to the call for donations was overwhelming.

For information about Books and Bears, contact Certion at or 662-915-1568.

By Edwin B. Smith

Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

The Local Voice is a bimonthly entertainment guide and newspaper based in Oxford, Mississippi, covering and distributed in North Central Mississippi, including Oxford, Ole Miss, Taylor, Abbeville, Water Valley, Lafayette County, Yalobusha County, and parts of Panola County, Marshall County, and Tupelo . The Local Voice is distributed free to over 255 locations in North Mississippi and also available as a full color PDF download worldwide on the internet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑
  • Click Here for Entertainment this week
    Click Here for Entertainment this week
    Eat in Oxford: Click Here for Food & Drink Specials today in Oxford and Ole Miss
    Fetcht Delivery: Your Local Food Delivery Service