MVSU, HCASC presents two community organizations with $3,500 each

ITTA BENA, Miss.— Two local community organizations are now planning to purchase much-needed supplies thanks to a generous donation from Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) and American Honda through its Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC).

HCASC is America’s premier academic competition for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). For the past 22 years, MVSU has participated in the fast-paced, buzzer competition and was one of 65 teams set to advance to the 31stNational Competition in March after placing third during the HCASC Texas Invitational earlier this year.

However, when the national competition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, HCASC decided to extend funds initially allocated to support participating schools by allowing them to instead donate it to a local charity of their choice. 

As a result, President Jerryl Briggs, Sr., and members of the MVSU Honda Team presented the Greenwood Interfaith Ministries Community Kitchen and the Community Food Pantry with $3,500 each Thursday morning. 

“We are elated to receive this donation from MVSU,” said Carlee Bailey of the Greenwood Interfaith Ministries Community Kitchen, which provides meals to community members as well as clothing and personal care products when available. 

“This donation will help us to purchase food, cleaning supplies, masks and help with upkeep,” she added. 

Tommy Ellett of the Community Food Pantry shared similar sentiments. 

“This is wonderful…MVSU has some amazing people,” he said.

According to Ellett, the pantry services a lot of senior citizens within the community, and the donation will help the organization purchase more food. 

“We’re so appreciative to Mississippi Valley State University, and we’re going to put this donation to good use,” he said. 

Barbara J.P. Washington, a retired professor and long-time coach for the MVSU Honda Team, said the organization is grateful for the opportunity to help the local community.

“It feels great to be able to support these two wonderful organizations through HCASC,” said Washington. 

Washington said that the Honda Team has volunteered at the community kitchen in the past and that she frequently volunteers at the food pantry.

“Over the years, Honda has been good to MVSU and these organizations have been good to our community, so we see this as an opportunity to pay it forward.”To learn more about HCASC, visit

Pictured, front row, from left are President Dr. Jerryl Briggs, Sr.; Greenwood Interfaith Ministries Community Kitchen’s Carlee Bailey, Paulette Palmer, Barbara Biggers, Freda Maxey and Willie Hayes; (back row) MVSU HCASC Institutional Rep. Dr. Abigail S. Newsome, MVSU Honda Team Members Jaylin Smith of Greenwood and TaJuan Beckworth of Greenwood, and MVSU Honda Team Coach Barbara J.P. Washington.
Pictured, from left, are Tommy Ellett of the Community Food Pantry; MVSU HCASC Institutional Rep. Dr. Abigail S. Newsome; MVSU Honda Team members TaJuan Beckworth of Greenwood and Jaylin Smith of Greenwood; MVSU Honda Team Coach Barbara J.P. Washington; and MVSU President Dr. Jerryl Briggs, Sr.