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Drive to assist local homeless set for Dec. 18 at Stone Park

Homeless advocate Mack Turner is seeking help from the community to make life a little better for those who do not have the basic essentials most residents in Lafayette County enjoy.

Turner is organizing a community drive to donate items such as clothing and toiletries during an event set for Saturday, Dec. 18 at Stone Park.

“We do have a homeless problem here and many of them are veterans,” Turner said. “Many of them are dealing with mental health issues. I know of a man who has been sleeping in his car for at least the last six weeks. I’ve tried to convince him to come with me and get help, but he won’t.”

Just this past week, Turner saw a man sleeping on the ground.

“I talked to him,” Turner said. “He’s a veteran from South Carolina who was dropped off here. He wants to work, rake leaves, anything.”

Like many Turner has encountered, he is sleeping outdoors in some cold conditions.

“He’s sleeping on the concrete,” Turner said. “That’s just not right.”

He commended two Water Valley police officers who recently helped a homeless couple by renting them a room at a hotel.

“That story brought a tear to my eye,” Turner said.

But he wishes more people from the community would help with the local homeless issue.

“I’ve directed many of the homeless to Interfaith Compassion Ministry and Lena Wiley has always helped find them a place to stay,” Turner said. “But some of them just won’t go and those are the ones I worry about most.”

Turner has assisted the homeless in both Tupelo and Oxford for a number of years. Several businesses in the area have helped with donations and he’s hopeful that will be the case again.

“It’s Christmastime and we really need to help these people,” Turner said.

For more information on the event at Stone Park, contact Turner at 662-488-5617.