Join in the fun of helping a child

Nov 16, 2012

Even though Thanksgiving is not yet passed, those who understand the loneliness and the pain of having little to share beneath the Christmas tree are already hard at work.

There are plenty of people, whether because of health problems, the inability to find a job or other circumstances, who won’t have enough funds to provide the basics for their children on Christmas Day.

People like Lisa James and the others at Haywood Christian Ministry understand that gifts at Christmas time, or the lack thereof,  are more than just “things.” They are childhood memories that are cherished through the years. Making those memories good ones, regardless of a child’s circumstance, is something that takes the entire community.

The lead agencies in this effort include HCM, The Salvation Army, and Mountain Projects, which helps the low-income elderly have a special Christmas memory. The social services department is the backbone of the effort, as is the Haywood County school system. Many business owners and others help out by serving as drop off points for gifts and helping fulfill the wishes represented on the name tags.

There are literally dozens of other helping efforts as well, such as Shopping with the Sheriff, meal boxes provided for both Thanksgiving and Christmas and various church outreach efforts that help with both gifts and food.

Through an application process, both Haywood Christian Ministry and The Salvation Army identify struggling families who provide the clothing sizes, shoe size, jacket size and a toy wish list for the children in their home. That’s the hard part.

Now comes the fun part, which is when individuals who have a little to share can go on a shopping expedition. This is the community’s chance to make a child’s Christmas wishes come true.

Soon there will be Christmas trees across the county decorated not just with lights and garlands, but with name tags — tags that represent a tangible way to directly help a child in this community.

Whether it’s The Salvation Army’s Angel Trees, the senior tags or the trees for Project Christmas Love, a combined effort of the schools, churches, businesses and Haywood Christian Ministry, don’t breeze on by when you see trees with tags.

This is a golden opportunity to give back in one of the most meaningful ways around  — helping serve as the hands and feet of Christ to represent the true meaning of Christmas.

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