Holiday gets early start

Published 4:07pm Wednesday, September 26, 2012

With Christmas still a few months away, volunteers, shoppers and organizers are already working to make the holidays special for those in need in the community.
Stephanie Walker leads a group of volunteers each year to make the area’s Christmas Project a success. Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce Director Judy Crane also helps out with the organization and distribution of the packages destined to make children smile all over the community this Christmas season.
Walker and Crane, along with a group of organizers, have begun to get the word out for funds, shoppers and volunteers for the 2012 Christmas Project event.
Crane said nearly 700 people — children and adults — will be served through the project coming up in December.
“The Chamber has around 400 names, Sportsman Club has around 75 and the Kiwanis Club has 125. This number doesn’t include up to 75 names of elderly who live throughout the area who depend on home health care,” Crane said. “We have to start early in order to pull it all together.”
In addition to the volunteers who help to do the shopping, there are many others who shop and help as families. There are a number of families who choose to make a point of shopping, sorting and wrapping the gifts for the recipients each year.
“Some of the people who help out, do it together as a family event,” Walker said. “They shop and make it an event for them each year.”
Crane said those who wish to help the event may do so in a number of ways.
Financial contributions as well as clothing and toy purchases are welcome. And Angel Tree filled with age and sizes of children on the recipients list will be displayed again at Walmart for those who wish to do their own shopping, she said.
“With ages and sizes of children covering a wide range, I hope that those who choose to donate a toy or other gift will consider shopping for an older child,” Walker said. “Balls and bats for boys and dolls for girls are very popular with younger children, but there are also children in the range of 10 to 14 that often get overlooked. There are many toys that are educational and still fun such as games and puzzles.”
For businesses and individuals wishing to participate as a contributor or volunteer, forms for participation are available at the Chamber of Commerce offices on Douglas Avenue in the Brewton City Hall complex.
For those who wish to make a purchase to be donated to the Project, Walker asked that a few guidelines be remembered with those contributions. New toys and new clothing should be turned in unwrapped to allow the items to be matched with the appropriate recipients.
Walker said there is always a need for volunteers who can help shop, sort, wrap and transport the packages with the majority of work done in November and into early December. Volunteers will also be needed on pick-up day in mid-December.
For any additional information, contact the Chamber offices at 867-3305.

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