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COVID-19 shutters recycling and in-house Midd-West Works programs

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(photo by Thomas Parker)

Citing concerns over the safety of their clients, Midd-West Works has closed its recycling program along with its adult day care and in-house work programs until theCOVID-19 pandemic subsides.

Midd-West provides work and care for disabled adults in the Vicksburg and Warren County area.

“With these being disabled individuals, many of these people have compromised immune systems and medical conditions, and the risk is too great,” said Director Kearney Waites. “I have to put their health and safety above everything else.”

Estimates are that many as 60 percent of the recycling centers across the United States may have shut down citing concerns over how long the virus can live on various forms of recyclable materials.

“It will probably be as much as 30 days after we are given the all clear before we allow the program to resume,” Waites said.

Other Midd-West programs continue to function normally around the area. Approximately 45 Midd-West clients perform janitorial services for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District and the Engineer Research and Development Center. Others operate the mail rooms in both facilities. Midd-West clients also provide janitorial and stocking services in many stores around the area.

Waites hears frequently how the disabled workers are some of the company’s most valued employees.

“They have a tendency to work harder and value the opportunity to be self-sufficient more than the average worker,” Waites said.

Waites took over what was then called the Sheltered Acres Program in 1980. At the time, they had four clients and $22,000 in the bank. Through the years and with the addition of various programs, the non-profit organization has grown to generate more than 90% of its operating budget. They also receive some funding from the United Way and additional donations from private sources.

For more information on how disabled individuals can join the program, call them at 601-638-2770 and be sure to visit the Midd-West Facebook page.

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