Families seek holiday help

Published 5:49 pm Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Share the joy of helping a child.

That’s the appeal from the folks at Shelby Emergency Assistance in Montevallo. Kathy Pigott, the Christmas project coordinator, asked community members to make this a joyful holiday by fulfilling the wishes of children who otherwise may wake up on Christmas to find their stockings empty.

For 13 years the SEA has partnered with donors to make wishes come true. Last year 120 children were provided Christmas.

This year requests have increased to an anticipated 190 children due to the slowdown in the economy. The economy is reflected, too, in a slower contribution rate.

The need is critical; SEA asked that those who can possibly afford it make providing for these children a part of their Christmas giving.

SEA is a United Way agency assisting families in crisis. Those families are carefully screened. They complete budgeting sessions to make sure their everyday needs are met and they qualify for assistance. The families requesting Christmas gifts are then matched with a family, church group, individual or organization.

Each child is given three wishes for toys and three for needs –– usually clothing. Sponsors shop for the items and either take them to SEA or, by special arrangement, deliver the gifts themselves. Sometimes sponsors also provide a gift card for groceries or a special gift for the mother.

Pigott told us about one memorable family.

“He is being raised by his grandmother and has been with her since he was a baby. They are on a limited income but never ask for help for anything but Christmas for the boy. The grandmother does a good job — that child is the apple of her eye.”

“She takes him fishing and to the library for books and the weekly movie. She takes advantage of every opportunity for him to learn and to have a happy childhood. This is just one example of the families that we love to help.”

To become a sponsor, call Pigott at 665-1942 or e-mail her at kathyp@birch.net.

Catherine Legg can be reached at clegg2@bellsouth.net.