Coats Donated By Mississippi State University Volunteers

The boxes say Mississippi State University. The gesture says Bulldog country cares about helping kids. Bulldogs in Response was formed shortly after Hurricane Katrina struck.

"We carried about 2500 coats Tuesday over to Hancock County," says volunteer Danny Cheatham as he unloads his latest delivery.

Having made more than a dozen trips to South Mississippi since the storm, the volunteers are now coordinating through the MSU Coastal Research Center in Biloxi to provide coats to local elementary students who might otherwise be left in the cold.

"We bought every coat we can find in North Mississippi," says Cheatham. "We're going to Meridian now and some other places trying to find coats."

One box, Cheatham, a former MSU administrator, delivered personally to North Bay Elementary.

"A lot of them don't have anything but the backpacks on their backs," says North Bay school nurse Rhonda Major. "So anything nice and light and warm will work wonders."

The rest will be distributed to other schools by local volunteer and fellow retired bulldog David Veal.

"This school didn't need but a few coats," says Veal. "Others need and have requested several hundred and they'll get those."

Bulldogs in Response is providing more than 6 thousand coats to kids in total. Cheatham says it's just one more way the thousand of individuals and organizations contributing to this cause can share the warmth with their southern neighbors.

"Being able to help somebody else and do something for somebody else and help ease their pain and suffering, it's just a great feeling. And it's shared by a lot of people at Mississippi State and folks down here on the coast as well."

by Don Culpepper