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Christmas Friends Inc. needs volunteers


This year 300 people will be served by Christmas Friends Inc., the annual gift-giving program that is in its 28th year helping the less fortunate of Middlesex County.

Shoppers will be busy fulfilling the wish lists over the next two weeks. Gift wrapping sessions will be held on December 7 and 8 at the Southside Sentinel office on Virginia Street in Urbanna.

Santa’s helpers will have to work quickly in 2013 to meet an early delivery date of Saturday, December 14. That gives volunteers just three more weeks to buy, wrap, sort and deliver thousands of gifts.

If you can help with wrapping and delivery and have not already been contacted, please call the Sentinel at 758-2328 and leave your name and email address. Also, if you would like to be a shopper next year, sign up now through the Sentinel.

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 gathered at the Sentinel office in Urbanna for wrapping and delivery.

Gift boxes are always needed and delivery vans and drivers will soon be assigned. If you have a van and are willing to remove its back seats and be the driver for one of 12 delivery teams on Saturday, December 14, please call 758-2328. Gift boxes can be left at the Sentinel back door. Rolls of wrapping paper (ribbons not needed) are also welcomed.

For more information, call Geanie Longest at the Southside Sentinel at 758-2328 or email her at .

Donations needed
The fund-raising goal for Christmas Friends this year is $25,000. Last year, the community responded generously and donated $24,813.

In 2012, Christmas Friends helped 301 residents (211 children and 90 elderly or disabled adults) of Middlesex County, said Christmas Friends secretary and shopping director Bettie Lee Gaskins. Over $29,000 was spent on the gifts.

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

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

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 will also be acknowledged.

Recent donations as of November 18 are as follows: 
In memory of Charles Healy given by Anita, $150.
In honor of our Middlesex Friends by Richard Stearns and Andrea Crawford, $100.
In memory of John D. Lemons Jr. given by Billy, Blair, Palmer, Sophie and Peyton Curdts, $100.
In memory of William H. and Louise M. Milby and Arthur Shaver, $100.
Jan and Dean Winston, $100.
Donald and Alice Leyden, $100.
In honor of our parents from Don and Judy Richwine, $100.
In lieu of exchanging gifts: Genie and Curt, Jess and Ashley, Vance and Meredith, and Maria Saunders, $200.
In loving memory of Douglas T. Gray Jr., Vel and Family, $100.
Gerald and Judith Parker, $2,500.
Anonymous, $100.
Nancy and Jack Muldowney, $100.

Total this week: $3,750.
Total to date: $4,300.

posted 11.20.2013

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