Today is Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Christmas for All wraps up this week, donations needed

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Wilson County Christmas for All volunteers Juli Kelley and Charlie Thomason shop for gifts for a needy child. Kelley said they still need baby items, clothes and toys for children under 3 years old, as well as art items such as coloring books, crayons and paints.

BEN DUDLEY / The Wilson Post

By JENNIFER HORTONThe Wilson Post

If you have some spare change, a couple of dollars, whatever you can afford, Wilson County Christmas for All would appreciate your kind donation.

The organization, made up of volunteers, works each year to provide toys and clothes for children and families and food and other items for the elderly and disabled at Christmas.

Christmas for All officials recognize that most everyone has had to cut back this year, but they note that the needs remain.

“We are hoping for donations,” said Jim Harding, president of the Christmas for All board.

There are 340 to 400 children remaining to be shopped for, he said. In 2008, Christmas for All provided a merrier Christmas for about 3,700 children throughout Wilson County. The deadline for applications for assistance this year was Dec. 11. The warehouse is set to close on Thursday, Dec. 17.

The organization tries to provide each child with at least three items and tries to spend a minimum of $35 each on the children. With approximately 400 children remaining, Christmas for All needs $14,000 to fill the shopping lists and is $5,000 to $10,000 short at the present time.

Harding said if you would like to make a donation in any amount, bring it by the Turner Evans Building at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center in Lebanon or call Christmas for All at 547-1106 so someone can come and pick it up.

If you have toys that you like to donate, you can drop them off at any location of Wilson Bank & Trust or at Rite-Aid drugstore. They are approved drop-off sites for the U.S. Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program which Christmas for All is working with this year.

“It always seems to work out,” Harding said. “I keep the faith.”

In years past, Christmas for All has been able to count on having excess funds to carry over into the next year for the holiday season. Before worrying about next year, he said, “I’d like to get through this year first.”

Christmas for All cut back, too, this year, by cutting the age of young people who can receive items from the organization from 18 as in years past to age 16. Harding said board members thought that older children would understand better than younger ones why the action was taken.

Even during the economic recession, Harding said applications for assistance this year remained level they were up in 2008 some 20 to 25 percent. Some people who had received assistance in the past may have moved elsewhere, he said, noting that may be one of the reasons there was no increase this year.

Christmas for All is not the only charitable organization watching its pennies closely this year. He noted the Help Centers in Lebanon and Mt. Juliet were running tight as well as others.

“I encourage people to help somewhere,” Harding said.

Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at news@wilsonpost.com.

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