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Easter Doris Simmons Williams

The inspiration for Easter's Helping Hands Project, Inc.

Easter Doris Simmons was born November 13, 1930, in Duck Hill, Mississippi, to James Aaron and Mary Virginia Miles Simmons, who married in 1924. They had nine children: Della Sarah Jessie Mae, Cloatee, Jimmie V, Courtney, Easter Doris, Rosie Lee, Mattie Lois, Frankie Mae, and James Simmons Jr. 

James was a good provider, and was smart, too. A logger by trade, he hired people to help with the logging and to do the plowing on the farm. Mary, on the other hand, was a great mother with a kind spirit. She was a seamstress who would sew dresses for her girls and taught them how to sew. Mary also worked outside the home. It was known that Mary and James would always have plenty of food to eat and a warm bed to sleep in for any family member needing assistance. Moreover, people could always depend on Mary for a good meal and sound advice when they needed someone to listen to them.

Easter Doris (also known as Aunt Doris or Ms. Doris) followed in her mother’s footsteps with her kind spirit and sound advice. She had five children: Esther, Dennis, Charlene, Rosemary, and Barbara. Just like her mother, Easter Doris sewed dresses for her girls and taught them to sew as well. She didn’t stop with teaching her girls how to sew, she also became a Girl Scout leader and taught girls in the neighborhood how to sew as well as cook. She also had a kind spirit and would open her home to anyone that she felt was in need. It didn’t matter whether it was a family member or a friend, she took care of them, along with her own five children and the children in the neighborhood. 

Our veterans are our neighbors and friends, too. They’ve served this country well and have kept us safe. My father, daughter and some extended family members served in the Armed Forces while my mother served at home. If you needed a hot meal or a place to stay, she would always open her doors, and a plate would be waiting for you on the kitchen table. If you needed someone to talk to late at night, you could always call Aunt Doris or Mrs. Doris for a prayer, someone to listen to your issues, or give sound advice when needed. 

Easter Doris volunteered for various causes and served on several committees in the church.  She counseled countless people in the neighborhood where we grew up; even though they depended on her a lot, she was still “momma” to us when we needed her. 

Her caring and giving spirit is the reason we started Easter’s Helping Hands Project, a nonprofit to honor her. There are countless homeless people in the world. Even though we can’t help them all, we have decided to focus on homeless veterans. Why? Veterans served this country well and should be honored for their service. I will not quote statistics, but needless to say, there are too many homeless veterans who need a safe place to sleep, three meals a day, a change of clothes, and medicine.  We want to provide those services as well as help them to transition back into society with a job and a place to live of their choosing. 

We are unaware of any homeless veterans in our family. However, we have been asked, “Why homeless veterans?” I will answer that question with a question: Why not homeless veterans? Do you have to know of a homeless veteran to want to help them?  I would say no. If you can help, then please do help. No matter how small the donation or volunteer service, every little bit helps in some way for the greater good.

Easter’s Helping Hands Project welcomes financial donations or volunteers to further the vision of offering a helping hand to anyone who is in need.

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