The city of Hattiesburg has launched a new campaign to encourage city residents and workers to save money.
Valerie Arnold, assistant to the mayor, said along with naming Feb. 22-27 as Hattiesburg Saves Week to "encourage residents to save money, reduce debt and build wealth," the city is also launching a a new component to the Mayor's Financial Education program that focuses on kindergarten-aged children.
"We want kids to start saving money early on, and we also want to introduce the concept of a vocation or college for our kids at a young age," Arnold said, "They're very informative at the age of, what, five when they go to kindergarten, so if we start early with teaching them financial literacy, teaching them the importance of education, that mindset is already there."
Arnold said this is the start of the city's initiative to set up a children's savings account for low-income children living in Hattiebsurg. She said several cities across the country have similar savings account programs.
This week, the city is placing five-gallon water jugs in city offices to encourage employees to donate their change to start collecting money for the children's savings account. Arnold said the program is still in the early stages, but once an account is set up, the change will be placed in that account.