SEA elves help families

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Santa&8217;s sleigh was filled by the elves of Shelby Emergency Assistance with toys and clothes for many, many, good little children. The elves wanted to be sure that no child woke to an empty stocking on Christmas morning.

This year, SEA&8217;s Santa left gifts for about 190 children

He visited two who had lost their mother and live with their grandmother. The grandmother works full-time, goes to school and is now a full-time mom. The children are honor students.

&8220;She is just one example of the kind of people we try to help.

Another example is a grandfather who had retired on social security, took in a

grandchild and was forced back to work just to provide the necessities,&8221; remarked Ginger Seelbach, coordinator of Project Christmas.


reported that they help many other grandparents who are raising grandchildren, many single parents and married parents who have lost their jobs.

The busy elves at SEA are a mixed group of individuals, clubs, businesses, Sunday School classes, churches, groups of school students and University of Montevallo students.

Some groups adopted single children, while others adopted families.

Many shopped for those they adopted, buying toys, games, food and clothing.

Many other gave cash.

One 13-year-old made and filled Christmas stockings.

Seelbach said, &8220;The goal of SEA is to help people through financial crisis and the goal at Christmas is to prevent a budget crisis.

Most of these we help are the working poor who support themselves from month-to-month.

Christmas would just blow their &8216;bare bones&8217; budget.

Many of the families we see only at this time of year.

In order to qualify for help they must attend budget sessions, one when they apply and the other before Oct. 1 of the next year in order to qualify again.&8221;

SEA plans with other agencies in the county so that each family is only served by one agency.

They will never see some of the families again because their circumstances will improve and they will not need the help.

Christmas was a happy time in many Shelby County homes this year.

The children still believe in Santa Claus and the elves have that &8220;feel good&8221; feeling for a job well done!

Catherine Legg can be reached by e-mail at