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‘Make-A-Wish’ says that’s not them calling

Some telephone calls recently to residents in the area has anon-profit organization on edge.

Telemarketers claiming to be with a wish granting organizationhave confused some people in Lincoln County by making them believethey are associated with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a charity thatprides itself on a policy against telemarketing, according to T.J.McSparrin, president and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation ofMississippi.

“We have received several calls recently from frustrated orconfused individuals asking us why we have employed telemarketers,”she said. “The simple answer is, we have not.

“The Make-A-Wish Foundation has a nationwide policy againsttelephone and door-to-door solicitation,” said McSparrin. “There isalso no other organization affiliated with the Make-A-WishFoundation that utilizes telemarketing, despite what someindividuals who have been called have been told.”

Holly Perkins Slay, a Lincoln County representative ofMake-A-Wish, said a few people have reported to her that they haverecently received such calls.

“People are getting the two organizations confused, but we’renot associated with them,” she said.

She pointed out that the calls are more confusing now becauseshe and other Make-A-Wish volunteers in southwest Mississippi areasking businesses to sponsor an upcoming fundraising event.

The group plans to have volunteers build a “dream playhouse”that will be given away in December. Chances will be sold on theplayhouse this fall.

Also, to add more confusion, at least one business owner hasreceived a letter from an international children’s wish-grantingorganization asking for money, which conflicts with a currentfundraising effort by Make-A-Wish.

“In the next few weeks, we will be sending out letters tobusinesses who would like to sponsor the playhouse,” said Slay.

She and other Make-A-Wish volunteers caution residents to makecertain the group requesting the money is legitimate by calling thestate Attorney General’s office.

Other tips they offer include requesting written informationabout the organization, understanding what type of commitment isbeing requested and never giving any personal financial informationover the phone unless absolutely certain about the caller’sintent.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation, which is registered with theattorney general’s office, grants wishes to children withlife-threatening illnesses to enrich the human experience withhope, strength and joy.

Make-A-Wish is the largest wish-granting organization in theworld. The Mississippi chapter granted wishes for 115 children lastyear across the state.

Several Lincoln County children have had wishes granted in thepast, with some receiving trips to the most popular children’sresort: Disney World.