Archived Story

Project Christmas needs community’s help

Published 4:26pm Wednesday, October 17, 2012

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

MONTEVALLO – Shelby Emergency Assistance is asking for the community’s help with Project Christmas.

Project Christmas is a program designed to provide Christmas gifts for families in need in Montevallo or Wilton. Whether due to loss of job or divorce, many local families need help at Christmas, said Cindy Pope, SEA project coordinator.

The SEA teams up with Shelby Baptist Association, Salvation Army, Shelby County Sheriff’s Department and Oak Mountain Mission to provide help to county residents during the holidays. SEA assists the Montevallo area, according to Director Karen Pendleton.

Last year, Project Christmas provided gifts, including needed goods such as clothing and shoes, for 213 children, which helped 75-80 families.

Pope expects the numbers to be about the same this year.

To qualify for the program, families bring financial information to an interview at SEA.

Pendleton said SEA employees look at the total household income and budget.

“If we can help with Christmas with those families who are already struggling, that means this month they can pay their power bill and rent and such,” Pendleton said.

Pope said a budget plan can help families look to next year.

“We help them set up a budget plan for the new year,” Pope said. “We help them set up a spending plan so maybe next year they can afford Christmas gifts.”

Each child gets three “wishes,” which includes toys, Pope said. The children also have three need requests for clothing, shoes and other necessities.

“We really need people to call in to sponsor children. They can sponsor one child or up to five children,” Pope said. “We try to keep the amounts $30 and below for each gift.”

Pope said sponsors purchase the items and return them to SEA in labeled bags by Dec. 14, but participants can also donate money or gift cards to SEA to purchase gifts.

“Also, we ask if there’s anyone who wants to make a donation of toys, last year we had several groups do that,” Pope said. “Some people may come in with an emergency the week before Christmas and need help. So we’ll have toys available.”

For more information, call Shelby Emergency Assistance at 665-1942.

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