9245133_G By Trang Pham Bouy, WLOX

“We were looking for a service project in Gulfport and we found Marissa’s GoFundMe account. The bench is bringing the kids together and we want to be a part of that,” said Shaggy’s spokeswoman Marcella Richardson.

“I think it’s such a great idea. When I was a child, we moved around a lot, and I can only imagine what this type of bench does for kids who are in that similar situation,” Marcella added.

Shaggy’s had six wooden benches built, one for each elementary school in Gulfport.

“I thought, Wow, a lot of people really care, and I can’t believe they would do this for us. And I think that this is going to make the world a really better place,” said Marissa.

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Marissa won’t stop until every child in South Mississippi has a friend. Her message is simple: Be a Buddy, not a Bully.

“I just want it to spread a lot more, because I want the whole universe to have friends. A lot of people said they love the Buddy Bench and they’re making a lot of new friends on it and they’re really happy that we donated it and it looks really good,” said Marissa.

Shaggy’s will also donate a Buddy Bench to Hiller Park in Biloxi and install one at its new restaurant in downtown Gulfport.

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