Charitable organizations depend on the support of communities through dedicated volunteers and generous donations in order to carry out their work. Mississippi has been recognized numerous times as the most generous state in the nation when it comes to charitable giving, and Northeast Mississippi may well be the state’s most generous region.

Two organizations have recently been on the receiving end of this generosity: Boys and Girls Clubs of North Mississippi and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

The 14th annual Dance Like the Stars fundraiser had another successful year, with 10 local celebrities raising $224,740 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of North Mississippi. The contestants, from different backgrounds and communities participated in the event, with more than 50 sponsors.

The organization, which has served youth in Lee, Lafayette, Tippah and Union counties since 1996, serves about 2,000 children and adolescents in the span of a year, engaging them in recreational and mentoring relationships to help them mature and gain exposure to the positive opportunities in life at work and in play. The group has many programs before and after school to serve the children.

This year was another record-setting year for the St. Jude Dream Home in Tupelo, selling 1,500 more tickets than last year and raising $950,000 to fund childhood cancer research and assist St. Jude patients and their families.

Every ticket helps St. Jude kids and the mission of St. Jude: finding cures. Saving children. Because of support and generosity of others, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for travel, treatment, housing or food – because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

Entertainer Danny Thomas’ vision became a reality when St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened in 1962. Since then, St. Jude has become one of the world’s premier pediatric research institutions, leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Northeast Mississippians responded with the level of community spirit and financial commitment the region has come to expect of itself.

The greatest gift to our community is when we contribute to making lives better, spreading light to those who need it the most and illuminating our lives in the process.

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