Lambert shops for children

Published 9:42 am Wednesday, December 15, 2004

By By LYDIA GRIMES Features writer
Christmas is both a time for giving and receiving. Those who believe that the greatest satisfaction comes from giving have a field day during the holidays. People in the Brewton area are no exception.
One of the main Christmas programs in Brewton, East Brewton and Flomaton is surprisingly enough known simply as the "Christmas Project."
Many volunteers are dedicated to giving of their time and energy to see that this program is carried out each year.
Becky Lambert is among those individuals who works with the Christmas Project every year.
The Christmas Project began about 20 years ago when a group of volunteers, with the help of the Department of Human Resources, decided to help needy families have a good Christmas by giving them boxes of food and seeing that the children in the families received at least one toy.
In the last 20 years the project has evolved and changed, but one thing has remained the same, to help as many people as possible, mostly children, to have a merry Christmas.
The Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce originally got involved to do the paperwork; get letters out to potential volunteers and businesses, asking for donations. Today the project is still coordinated through the Chamber, although volunteers have taken on more and more of the details.
Today the Project manages to see that some 600 children have a happy Christmas and provide around 100 elderly shut-ins with holiday food. This includes angel trees set up around the area, Kiwanis shopping, Sportsman Club shopping and the shopping done by various volunteers with donations made from individuals and businesses.
Angel trees are set up for individuals to pick an "angel" from a tree and to buy a toy for that child. It is a little bit more personal for the giver, but it's not the only way the children get toys. Both Kiwanis and Sportsman Clubs take children on a shopping trip to local businesses (this year it was Wal-Mart), to pick out what they want. The children are allowed a certain amount to spend. Most of the amount is spent on clothing, but each child is allowed to buy one toy.
Local businesses are sent letters asking for donations to cover the cost of these shopping trips and each letter asks for volunteers. This is how Becky Lambert got involved about 10 years ago. Her husband's business received a letter each year and they contributed with a donation. One year she decided that she could also help by volunteering to shop for the children.
She, along with other volunteers. have been shopping for the last few weeks and tomorrow the clothing and toys will be distributed.
Each volunteer was given a list of children, along with their sizes and ages, to shop for. The amount of money to be used on each child depended on their age. After shopping, the gifts were all put into a bag with the child's name on it and left at Wal-Mart. They were later collected and toys have been added which have been bought by other shoppers. One of those who works very hard at this is Stephanie Walker., who buys toys and books all year and saves them for this project. It is the goal of the Christmas Project for each child to received clothing and at least one toy and a book.
The bags were collected from Wal-Mart on Monday. Everything was put together and tomorrow, the bags are being distributed at First United Methodist Church of Brewton. Parents are picking up the bags and hopefully will save them for the children to open on Christmas morning.
Lambert is only one of many shoppers. She is asked every year if she will help and how many she can shop for. This year she shopped for 10 children.
Tuesday, she, along with other volunteers, met at the church to get everything together. A room is set aside for each age group and each bag is filled with the clothing and an appropriate age toy and book.
Although the bags are being distributed tomorrow, donations may still be made. There can always be another child who has a need and if the money isn't used this year, it will go on next year's buying. Donations may still be made at the Chamber of Commerce.
Lambert says her family enjoys Christmas and this year will be extra special. The tree in her house has been up since last year. This time last year the whole family had only one thing on their minds. The Lamberts' only grandchild, Rebecca Ann Moore, was in the hospital in serious condition and Christmas was spent with her at the hospital.
Lambert grew up in East Brewton and graduated from W.S. Neal High School in 1965. She worked for the county board of education and was married to Earl Lambert in 1969. He was in school at Auburn University at the time and they moved there for a while. Later they moved back to the McCall community and her husband and his father ran a construction business in Flomaton, L and L Welding.
She grew up in town and wanted to move back, so they built a home in a secluded section on Dogwood Lane about 10 years ago. They have two children, and one grandchild.