Project Christmas vital to needy in community

The October nip in the air lets us know Christmas is not far away and it’s certainly not too early to make plans.

Shelby Emergency Assistance is already busy with Project Christmas, taking applications from families who need help and soliciting sponsors for those families.

In the present economic climate, that’s not an easy task.

“Even with the uncertain times,” said Kathy Pigott, education coordinator for the agency. “It is our desire that every child in Shelby County have a merry Christmas.”

Last year, 200 children benefited from Project Christmas. This year, SEA is expecting a sizeable increase.

Families requesting assistance may apply through Nov. 16. They must fill out an application and then go through a budgeting session with a staff member at SEA.

Those who have received help in the past must complete the budgeting process between April 1 and September 30.

“There are so many reasons these people need help,” said Pigott. “In one family, the father was laid off and his unemployment benefits are about to expire. In another, a single mother has a 3–year–old and a 1–year–old. Her only income is about $600 in SSI benefits. There’s simply not enough there for Santa Claus.”

SEA appeals to readers to make Project Christmas a meaningful part of their holiday plans.

There are several ways to do this: sponsor a child or a family by purchasing the gifts from a list of suggested items or those who simply cannot find room in their budget for the donations, volunteering is another good way to help. Volunteers are needed to sort and check Santa’s bags, and to call parents for toy pick up.

For information or to help with Project Christmas, contact Kathy Pigott at 665–1942 or by e–mail at kathyp@birch.net.

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