Next Step collecting for family in need

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The employees at Alabaster’s Next Step Prosthetics typically have an idea of who they will be providing Christmas for several weeks before Christmas, but this year was different.

“Usually, one of our patients or somebody we know will come in and say ‘Can you help this family, because they are going through some hard times,'” said Next Step Prosthetics Owner Adam Williams. “But this year, nobody called on us to help out.”

But on Dec. 6, the office got a surprise visitor.

“A gentleman came in and said ‘You guys have helped me out a ton, and I hate to ask you for anything else, but these folks are really struggling,'” Williams said. “And that was what we were waiting on.”

Despite the shorter-than-normal time frame for gathering donations to benefit the family – especially the children – Williams said the Next Step employees are doing everything possible to make sure three local families have a merry Christmas.

The business has adopted a family from Columbiana and two families from Clanton. Each family includes four children apiece ranging in age from 3 months to 17 years old.

“It’s something we like to do to give back to our community,” said Next Step Office Manager Barbara Stewart.

The kids in the three families have asked for items such as bicycles, MP3 players, remote-controlled cars, Barbie dolls, Bath and Body works lotions, EZ Bake ovens and jewelry, Stewart said.

The business will collect items for the families through Friday, Dec. 21. Next Step has set up a Christmas tree in its lobby containing information on each child in the three families, allowing visitors to purchase items on each child’s list.

Next Step is located at 557 First Street North in Alabaster, and can be reached at 664-5347.