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Christmas Friends has another successful season

by Tom Chillemi

Christmas Friends Inc. bookkeeper Geanie Longest (right) accepts a $745 donation from Beatrice Taylor of the Urbanna Lights in Honor and Memory Tree Committee. Other committee members pictured include, from left, Kerry Robusto, Joanie Ward, Dolly Thrift and Mary Kay Hight. The check increased this year’s total donations for Christmas Friends to $27,806. The honor-memory tree is in the background.  (Photo by Tom Chillemi)
Christmas Friends Inc. had another successful year thanks to a generous community that donated money and time. In its 24th year, the gift-giving program helped 171 children and 129 senior adults who met strict guidelines for need.

A big “thank you” goes out to the donors, shoppers, gift wrappers, delivery people and everyone else who joined this community effort, said Christmas Friends president Fred Gaskins. See full list of volunteers on page B8 inside.

A total of 117 Christmas Friends shoppers spent $28,900 to make Christmas brighter for the less fortunate of Middlesex.

Monetary donations this season have totaled $27,806.67 as of Monday. “We very much appreciate the contributions,” said Christmas Friends secretary Bettie Lee Gaskins. “We went over our goal ($25,000) even in a slow economy.”

The shoppers donated their time, gas and, in many cases, extra money from their own pockets to fulfill the wishes.

Hundreds of gifts were wrapped at the Sentinel, and many shoppers also wrapped the gifts they purchased.

Christmas Friends needs plenty of boxes when the wrapping begins each year. If there are currently too many gift boxes around your house, they may be left in the covered area at the Sentinel back door at anytime.

Christmas Friends volunteer Joe Gaskins adds to the sea of gift bags waiting for delivery.
For the first time in its history, Christmas Friends experienced a delay in delivering gifts because of bad weather. With about 7 inches of snow piling up Friday night in the Urbanna area, the Saturday delivery was cancelled and was shifted to Sunday and Monday. “Special thanks goes to all volunteers who took the delay in stride and faithfully reported for duty after the weather cleared,” said Fred Gaskins.

Because Christmas Friends has such generous volunteers and is sponsored by the Southside Sentinel and Middlesex Social Services, it operates with no overhead. When expenses have been incurred for wrapping supplies or for fuel used to shop or deliver, no reimbursement has ever been requested. Every dollar donated goes directly toward making the Christmas season brighter for those in need.

Donations are welcome at any time of the year. Send tax-deductible donations to Christmas Friends Inc., c/o Southside Sentinel, P.O. Box 549, Urbanna, VA 23175. Recent donations include:

  • Anonymous, $100.
  • Clarksbury United Methodist Church, $100.
  • In honor of Johnny Fleet from the Hartfield Crew, $150.
  • Middlesex Kiwanis Club, $1,000.
  • In memory of our parents, Scott and Nancy Campbell, $50.
  • Nennie and Jim Lennon, $50.
  • Chuck and Barie Carmichael, $100.
  • Broad Creek Marina, $100.
  • In memory of Susan Woolf by Ron and Mickie McCallum, $200.
  • In memory of Beverly Silver, $100.
  • In memory of Marty Hawksworth by Marty and Arch Brown, $20.
  • Episcopal Church Women of Christ Church Parish of Middlesex, $157.
  • In memory of Bill and Ruth Horton by Dennis and Cecelia Allen, $50.
  • Perry and Joan Mason, $100.
  • Decker and Phyllis Bristow, $100.
  • Urbanna Lights in Honor and Memory Tree, $745.

The total collected this week is $3,122.00.

The total collected to date is $27,806.67.

posted 01.06.2010

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