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Toyota Mississippi grants to help feed minds and bodies

Just as Toyota navigated how to safely build vehicles amid COVID-19, the community navigated a new normal, too.

Image courtesy of Toyota Mississippi

Last week, Toyota Mississippi in Blue Springs announced two $100,000 grants to expand educational resources and food security in underserved communities.

“During this time, it became apparent to Toyota that many people were at a disadvantage,” said David Fernandes, Toyota Mississippi president. “This disadvantage created a barrier to good education and prosperity for those in rural areas. To help lighten the load, Toyota turned its focus to bridging these gaps and creating more resources to reach more people.”

The Lee County Library (LCL) and Mississippi Minority Farmers Alliance (MMFA) will each receive $100,000 to expand services and reach more people.

 

 

Lee County Library Bookmobile (Image courtesy of Toyota Mississippi)

The library grant will support the purchase of a new bookmobile and provide greater access to library and education resources. LCL Executive Director Jeff Tomlinson’s goal is to increase patron visits and material circulation.

“The bookmobile is a unique platform to deliver services into the community,” said Tomlinson. “It’s been a great service to the community for generations, and Toyota’s grant will help sustain and expand our reach.”

The MMFA grant will address issues facing socially disadvantaged farmers and children in rural communities impacted by COVID-19. It will help expand Good Agricultural Practices to more farmers; bridge the educational gap for students through after-school support; and boost the USDA’s Farmers to Family Food Box Program and Mid-South Food Bank Food Hub program in Northeast Mississippi.

MMFA Executive Director Carolyn Jones says the organization will use the grant to expand services.

“MMFA’s current partnerships with the USDA, Mid-South Food Bank and local churches allows us to distribute 40,000 food boxes to communities,” said Jones. “With Toyota’s support we will be able to access fruits, vegetables, dairy and meat to provide a fully balance diet for so many disadvantaged people.”

Fernandes shared his admiration for these organizations and the work they are doing in the community.

“We are incredibly proud of you for working so hard to provide creative solutions to support our communities through COVID-19. Toyota is honored to be your partner and grateful to play a part in the work you are doing,” said Fernandes.

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