Shelby Emergency to fill stockings

A little girl makes a Christmas wish.

“Please, Santa, fill my stocking this year! Mama says you might not come, but I know you won’t forget me.”

Without the help of Shelby Emergency Assistance, parents of almost 250 children in the Montevallo-Wilton area would, this Christmas, be forced to explain to their children why Santa remembered the kids next door, but forgot all about them.

Some of those parents are unemployed and their benefits have expired. Many are single parents struggling to support children with one low-paying job. Then, there are grandparents raising their grandchildren on a small retirement income. Many are simply the working poor with barely enough income for the basic necessities and nothing for the extras.

There are many sad stories: One family’s four children have had no Christmas the past two years. A great-grandfather has had custody of a great-grandchild for four years. There’s simply no money for Christmas presents. A single mother has a common problem: a lost job and missing child support payments.

SEA appeals to readers to turn these stories around by making Project Christmas a part of their holiday plans. Sharing the abundance of our blessings creates perhaps the most meaningful of all family holiday memories.

Cindy Pope, SEA Project Christmas coordinator, asks individuals, families, churches, businesses, offices, and groups to adopt a child, or a family. She will furnish a list of suggested gifts and either the donor or SEA will do the shopping. Unwrapped toys and other gifts should be taken to SEA at their location on Valley Street. The donors may, if they wish, deliver the gifts.

If a reader’s budget is too tight for a contribution of gifts or cash, there are opportunities to volunteer to sort toys, make purchases, deliver gifts, or man the phones.

“Project Christmas is very important to me,” said Pope. “I wish I could be there to see each child when they first see the gifts under the Christmas tree. Each year we have great sponsors who bring this happiness to the children. I would like to thank all of you for your support.”

To be a part of Project Christmas, call Cindy Pope at 665-1942.

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