Project helps buy gifts for children, elderly

Published 3:47 pm Friday, November 25, 2011

With holly, tinsel and twinkling lights plentiful through the next month, some Brewton area families may have a less than sparkling Christmas. That’s where the Christmas Project steps in to make holidays bright for those in need each year.
Stephanie Walker, one of the lead organizers for the annual charitable project, said nearly 400 children will benefit from the generosity of a lot of people.
“We have 52 people doing some shopping this year for this project,” Walker said. “We have around 390 children on the list that the project will benefit.”
Walker said several families make it a point to be involved in shopping, sorting and wrapping the gifts for the recipients each year.
“Some of the people who help out each year volunteer as a family,” Walker said. “The families go shopping together and make it a family event for them each year.”
Although more than 400 names were submitted for holiday assistance this year, Walker said the Christmas Project can’t take care of everyone.
“We have some great people with the Kiwanis and Sportsman clubs that take some of the names from the list each year to make sure everyone is helped,” Walker said. “The project also takes care of elderly with about 100 on that list this year.”
In an effort to help make sure each child receives a toy for Christmas, Walker said those who wish to help can choose an angel from the special tree at Walmart.
“We do the shopping for clothes that the children on the list receive each year,” Walker said. “Anyone who chooses an angel from the tree should just purchase a toy appropriate for the age and gender of the child on the angel.”
Although choosing an angel from the tree gives a specific gender and age for which to shop, Walker said it isn’t necessary in giving a donation.
“If someone can’t make it to Walmart to pick an angel, we will certainly take whatever they choose to give,” Walker said. “We can even take a cash donation to help with the shopping we do and to purchase gifts to distribute to make every package equal.”
With ages of children covering a wide range, Walker said she hopes that those who choose to donate a toy or other gift will consider shopping for an older child.
“Balls and bats for boys and dolls for girls are the most popular toys we have donated,” Walker said. “That’s fine for the younger children, but we also have some children in that 10 to 14 range that often get overlooked. Baby dolls are great, but there are so many other neat things out there. Educational toys are great and games or puzzles are great ways to introduce the whole family to something you enjoyed as a child.”
Walker said she has been involved in the project more than two decades — with her family joining in over the years.
“I’ve been doing the shopping for 22 years,” Walker said. “My daughter, Leigh, has been shopping with me since she was about 5. We do this as a family every year.”
Gifts purchased should be delivered to the Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce office on Douglas Avenue at the Brewton City Hall complex by Dec. 9, Walker said. Distribution of the gifts will be conducted in mid-December.
For more details or to make a cash contribution, contact the chamber at 867-3224.