Christmas for All had about 1,200 children to shop for in 2007 and has more than 1,100 so far this year, a number, Harding said, will likely increase.
There were more than 2,900 names, total, including children and elderly, in the Christmas for All computer in ’07, and Harding noted as of yesterday there 2,934 names entered this year with others still being added.
West Wilson Big Brothers of Mt. Juliet has about 200 additional names this year, and Watertown’s Angel Tree is about where it was in ’07 but still needs donations. Both of these organizations coordinate with Wilson County Christmas for All each year to make sure that all children and elderly in the county have a merrier Christmas.
(Big Brothers in Mt. Juliet will have their Mother’s Toy Store open from 1 until 4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 13, at Mt. Juliet Middle School. See adjoining article for more.)
Harding emphasized that Christmas for All is not destitute, but noted that on Wednesday night, the organization spent $7,000 shopping for children whose names they have received. Distribution of items for children and elderly began Tuesday.
Most of the children sponsored by the Lebanon Fire Department – the firefighters regularly sponsor some 400 children or so – have been taken care of, he said
A number of people did send monetary donations in to the organization earlier this year than has occurred in the past, and that has helped, he said, but additional funds, toys, food items and sponsors are still needed.
If any individual, church, civic group, business or school would like to sponsor a child or children, Harding strongly urged contacting the Christmas for All office today, Saturday or Monday so everything can be lined up, families contacted and arrangements made to pick up toys and such. The number is 547-1106.
In addition, if anyone would like to provide food items for a food box to be provided to an elderly person in the county, he urged you to call the same number as soon as possible. He estimated there are still 80 to 90 elderly people on the list to receive food boxes who still need sponsors.
“Whatever they can donate, sponsor a child, whatever they can do,” Harding said, will be appreciated.
Volunteers have cut back on purchasing clothing items for children, and Harding noted that so far, “no bicycles have been donated this year. We normally have quite a few donated.”
So far, children will only get bicycles that have been provided by their sponsors, he noted.
Harding said he and others will be meeting with officials the Marines’ Toys for Tots program to see if they can help Christmas for All this year.
The move this year has been toward less expensive toys for children, likely due to the slowing economy.
Even so, Harding praised the volunteers who are staffing the Turner Evans Building at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center from which Wilson County Christmas for All operates. He said there are a large number of volunteers this year helping to pack toys and food boxes.
And he praised those who have made donations.
“We’re getting great cooperation from people.”
For more information, or if you would like to donate or be a sponsor, call 547-1106. Editor Jennifer Horton may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.