Giving in Abundance

A large group photo of several young children and adults wearing kayaking gear and several kayaks of different colors in the grass in front of them.

The Leake County and Winston County 4-H Kayak Clubs had a blast using the paddles and lifejackets they received from a generous donation.

Walmart donates life jackets, paddles to Mississippi 4-H clubs

Story by Leah Barbour • Photos by Kevin Hudson

Leaders at Walmart in Louisville had already noticed Facebook posts announcing the new Winston County 4-H Kayak and Fishing Club when front-end coach Nikki Marshall realized they had too many life jackets and paddles in stock.

“For extra inventory, we usually just mark it down and try to sell it, but, when we saw the Facebook post about the fishing club, we knew we wanted to give it to a good cause,” Marshall emphasizes. “Walmart is giving back to the community by giving 200 life jackets and 200 paddles, and it’s getting more kids learning outside. It’s something kids need.”

The sizeable donation includes enough equipment to supply 40 4-H clubs around the state with five life jackets and five paddles each. 4-H, overseen by the Mississippi State University Extension Service, is open to all Mississippi children, ages 8–18, in every Mississippi county.

New 4-H Kayak and Fishing Clubs are popping up all over the state, says Jim McAdory, Extension agent in Winston County. The curriculum, developed during the pandemic, offers young people the opportunity to learn water safety and fishing skills.

“These kinds of donations are impactful and bring attention to the positive effect that 4-H is having on children and the community,” McAdory explains. “4-H relies on volunteers and partners, and partners like Walmart are invaluable.”

Marshall didn’t know about Extension or 4-H before the donation, but, now that she’s learned what 4-H has to offer, Marshall says she’s glad that Walmart is supporting it.

“I think 4-H is a good cause,” she emphasizes. “Kids need something to keep them off the streets and out of trouble. There’s a lot of things we could give to, but it’s a great feeling to do good for someone, especially children.

“The most important piece really is giving back to the community,” Marshall continues. “Once we knew here at Walmart how we could help, we wanted to do something to make a difference locally, even statewide.”

Other businesses, as well as non-profits, not-for-profits, and individuals, can give to 4-H, too. Visit the MSU Foundation at msufoundation.com, or contact Lacey Gordon, assistant director for development, at LGordon@foundation.msstate.edu or (662) 325-7000.

A large group of Walmart employees wearing blue vests smiling for a group photo.
The leadership team at the Walmart in Louisville includes (in front from left) Jenette Harmon, Tierra Hardin, Vrittany Brooks, Latoya Triplett, Courtney Brooks, Senitra Glover, Janice Hughes, Dawn Latham, and Morelle Griffin. In back (from left) are Matt Wisecup, Reather Joyce Yarbrough, Victoria Sanders, Erica Yarbrough, Crystal Riddle, Thomas Mullins, Nikki Graham, and Typhannie Houston.
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