Poker Run pays off for Bay St. Louis kids

BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - By Al Showers – bio | email

BAY ST LOUIS, MS (WLOX) – Christmas came early for nearly 200 children who attend the Bay-Waveland Head-Start school in Bay St. Louis. Monday, the organizers of a recent charitable poker run got to see the excited faces of the three and four-year-olds they worked so hard to help.

"It was a very good feeling. The smiles on their faces, the excitement," said Anita Dickinson, one of the event organizers. "Some of these kids don't get nothing for Christmas. It was a really good feeling."

Her fellow event organizer, Cheri Conner, said, "It's just so fun to see the looks on their faces and to know that you have made someone happy."

Seven Hancock County businesses helped generate more donations than organizers ever imagined.

"We got lots of jackets, boys and girls jackets. We got shorts, we got socks, we got shirts , we got sweat suits, stuffed animals. And we got all the candy," Dickinson said.

The coats and jackets were in high demand.

"The weather has gotten so cold out," Conner said. "The parents had to keep their children home because they didn't have coats and it was too cold for them to come out without a jacket. So that was a big need, and so we were very, very fortunate to fulfill a lot of that need."

"We chose this school because the school is low income based. So we choose this school because we felt like they needed it more than any other school," Dickinson said.

School leaders were very appreciative. They said knowing children now have gifts takes the burden off of their financially strapped parents.

"At the same time, it reinstates in the back of the mother's mind that someone is there and they do understand what I'm going through," said Rosa Hall with the Bay-Waveland Head Start.

"It means more to them than to us, but it gives us a good feeling also," Conner said.

Organizers of the toy give-away said they plan to make it an annual event.

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