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Christmas Friends goal is $28,000; donations needed

Christmas Friends Inc., now in its 33rd year helping the less fortunate of Middlesex County, needs funds. The fund-raising goal for Christmas Friends this year is $28,000. Last year, Christmas Friends spent $30,410 on gifts for 299 people.

All funds donated to Christmas Friends go directly to help needy children and the disabled or low-income elderly of Middlesex. All workers are volunteers and there are no administrative fees. 

The community-based program, administered by the Southside Sentinel, brings together those who want to make Christmas brighter for hundreds of local needy children, and elderly or disabled adults.

Santa’s helpers will have to work quickly. The gifts this year will be delivered on Saturday, December 15. That gives volunteers less than three weeks to buy, wrap, sort and deliver thousands of gifts.

Shopping and wrapping
More than 100 volunteer shoppers have begun fulfilling the wish lists for recipients.

Gift wrapping volunteers may be needed on Sunday, December 9 from 1-5 p.m. To volunteer to wrap presents or deliver, please call Geanie Longest at the Southside Sentinel at 758-2328, ext. 101, or email her at glongest@ssentinel.com.

Big vehicles needed
On December 15 several vehicles will be needed for gift delivery. The ideal van for holding approximately 25 large bags of gifts is a Chrysler or Dodge with stowaway rear seats or similar size vans with seats that can be completely removed. “Full size” SUVs (such as a Chevy Suburban) have also been used successfully. Most regular-size SUVs do not have enough space for all the bags.

Full size pick-up trucks with camper shells will also work well. If you have an enclosed pick-up truck or a van, are willing to remove its back seats and be the driver for one of 12 delivery teams on Saturday, December 15, please call 758-2328.

Partnership
Since its creation in 1986, a key to the success of Christmas Friends has been its partnership with the Middlesex County Department of Social Services, which carefully screens all applicants for eligibility. Applicants must meet strict income guidelines.

Once applicants are approved, the gift-giving program begins a process that’s almost like a pre-Christmas visit with Santa. Eligible families submit a “wish list” of clothing (including sizes and colors desired), toys and other needs; a volunteer shopper is assigned and issued donated funds; and the purchased gifts are assembled at the Sentinel office in Urbanna for wrapping and delivery.

In 2017, the community donated $34,467 to Christmas Friends, which helped 229 children and 70 elderly or disabled adults, said Christmas Friends secretary and shopping director Bettie Lee Gaskins.

Gift boxes are always needed and can be left at any time at the back door of the Sentinel office.

For more information, call Geanie Longest (758-2328) at the Southside Sentinel. 

Supplies such as boxes, wrapping paper and delivery bags are all donated. Volunteers supply storage space, vans and fuel to assist with the big delivery job.

Contributors will be recognized as Christmas Friends and their donations will be listed in the Sentinel. Contributors who wish to remain anonymous should request that their donations be listed as such. Memorial contributions also will be acknowledged.

Donations received through November 27 total $5,156.60. Donors include:

In memory of Jason Haley by Shannon and Rob Haley, $100.
Edward and Sherry Inabinet, $100.
Scott Krejci, $50.
Stan and Sandra Hovey, $100.
In memory of Ann Robusto and Stephen Robusto by Tony Robusto, $100.
In loving memory of Ginny Hunt by Barb Fasig, $200.
In memory of our brother Jimmie Rector by Betty Miller and Jean Hill, $50.
In honor of my daughters by Helen Chandler, $100.
In memory of our loved ones by Jim and Jean Hill, $50.
Jerome and Elizabeth Lester, $100.
In memory of Judith Ford Campbell Eley, $2,000.
Anonymous, $100.
Phil and Joy Crowder, $100.
Urbanna Creek Yacht Club, $135.
Middle Peninsula Regional Security Center, $88.50.

Previous total: $1,783.10
Total this week: $3,373.50
Total to date: $5,156.60

posted 11.29.2018

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