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Shoppers needed for Christmas Friends Inc.

Christmas Friends urgently needs more volunteer shoppers this year as it prepares to begin another season of helping the less fortunate in Middlesex County. 

The Middlesex Department of Social Services, which screens all applicants for eligibility, will soon deliver “wish lists” from approximately 300 needy clients to the Southside Sentinel office. Then the task begins to assign shoppers who will purchase gifts for each child and elderly or disabled adult.

Christmas Friends shopping coordinator Bettie Lee Gaskins thanked all those who have already signed up to shop, and urged others to join the effort by calling this week. She said another 25-30 people willing to shop will reduce the number of clients assigned per shopper and lessen the time required for each volunteer during this busy time of year. 

If you can help, please contact Geanie Longest today at the Southside Sentinel, 804-758-2328, or email her at

For each shopper, Christmas Friends provides a packet that includes a check to be used for purchases, the “wish list” submitted by the client (including clothing sizes, favorite colors, toy suggestions, etc.), suggested places to shop where Christmas Friends tax exemption certificates are on file, a shopper’s ID card needed to make tax-exempt purchases, name tags to go on each gift, a large bag to hold the gifts, and a delivery tag used to secure the bag. 

Shopping will need to be completed this year by December 8.

This is the 32nd year for Christmas Friends Inc., a joint project of the Southside Sentinel and the Middlesex County Department of Social Services.

Funds used for shopping are donated by Christmas friends everywhere—individuals, businesses, clubs and other organizations, and more. Each monetary gift is recognized weekly in the Southside Sentinel. Contributors who wish to remain anonymous should request that their donations be listed as such. Memorial contributions also will be acknowledged. 

Christmas Friends is a 501(c)(3) organization. Tax-deductible donations may be made payable to Christmas Friends Inc., P.O. Box 549, Urbanna, VA 23175.

More information about Christmas Friends for 2017 will appear in coming weeks, including details about how volunteers can help with wrapping the gifts on December 2, 9 and 10 and delivering the gifts on December 16.

posted 11.08.2017

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