Celebrate the season by sharing with those in need

Published 10:49 am Tuesday, December 6, 2011

By CATHERINE LEGG / Community Columnist

“While we are busy running around trying to get things together for our family’s perfect holiday, there are other families who are wondering where their next meal will come from, and those who know that they don’t have money to provide Christmas for their children,” exclaimed Cindy Pope, who coordinates Project Christmas for Shelby Emergency Assistance.

She explained that this year there are as many Shelby County families as ever who desperately need help. Each of their stories is different, but all alike in the fact that their poverty is not because they haven’t worked or economized, but circumstances have simply prevented their accumulating enough money to buy Christmas presents.

Montevallo Middle School students make up goodie bags for the 2010 Project Christmas at Shelby Emergency Assistance. From left are Diaretze Chavez, Zach Thompson, Destyni Peoples, Claire Gray, Tamera Fletcher, Emma Jones and Jack Brown. (Contributed)

There are so many sad stories: There are single parents working hard to support their children on minimum wage jobs, grandparents raising grandchildren with only their retirement income, and then there are families where both parents work at low-paying jobs but there’s nothing left over for Christmas.

One example is that of a lady who applied for assistance; she had a 4-year-old child and another on the way. “I thought I would be able to provide Christmas for my child this year,” she said, “But my baby is due in a few months and I am having complications. The doctor told me I would have to quit working and be on bed rest until the baby is born.” She needs Santa Claus for her little boy and clothing for the new baby.

Shelby Emergency Assistance is asking others to share their blessings with these families by making Project Christmas a part of their holiday giving. Sharing our blessings can be, for our own families, the most meaningful of all of the holiday festivities.

Many people have responded to the pleas for help. One group volunteered to provide Christmas for the pregnant lady and her children. A mother called and asked to sponsor a family with four children; she wanted each of her own four to learn that there are those people who are not as fortunate as themselves, and she wanted them to have the wonderful experience of giving.

SEA reports that though they have many wonderful sponsors, more are needed for the large number of families who have requested assistance.

The agency also needs donations of all kinds of non-perishable foods, wrapping paper, ribbon, new toys and cash. Those interested in sponsoring a family or in making a donation should call Pope at 665-1942.


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