Share Your Christmas serves over 400 kids

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Barry County Share Your Christmas project provided 429 children with Christmas toys and clothes this year.

"I think it went really well," said Gail Jenkins, Barry County OACAC director. "Every year we get more toys. The community amazes me every year."

Hundreds of needy families in Barry County visit the OACAC Neighborhood Center to request Christmas gifts for the holiday season each year.

The gift requests are written on paper Christmas ornaments and distributed to area businesses. After ornament requests are filled, Share Your Christmas volunteers collect donated toys from the drop-off locations.

"I think share your Christmas is successful because everybody loves kids and loves to help kids," said Barbara Warren, Share Your Christmas committee member. "Barry County has a great love of children."

On Dec. 14, Share Your Christmas volunteers met at the United Methodist Church, in Cassville, to sort hundreds of toys that were donated by Barry County organizations, businesses and individuals.

"Barry County citizens are great," said Warren. "The quantity and quality of the gifts get better every year. People really go all out for the kids."

The Barry County Republicans, Golden Harvest Club, Studebaker Club, First Baptist Church, United Methodist Church, Hutchens Construction, Tau Eta Sorority, Barry Electric, Fasco, Able 2, Cub Scouts and many other businesses and organizations worked to collect toys to make the project a success.

"Dr. Brent Herrin's animal hospital holds a toy drive every year," said Jenkins. "He does such a great job of collecting toys."

Herrin Animal Hospital held its fourth annual toy drive in conjunction with a holiday open house on Dec. 15.

"We invite our clients and fellow chamber members to come celebrate the season with us and ask that they bring toys for the local children," said Herrin. "The outpouring of compassion associated with this toy drive always amazes us. We had one of our wonderful clients donate two children's bicycles!"

Cassville High School also helped the 2005 Share Your Christmas project significantly. Miss and Mr. Merry Christmas candidates raised over $10,000 for the program.

Collected Christmas toys were distributed by Share Your Christmas volunteers at the United Methodist Church on Dec. 16. Clothes were distributed at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, in Cassville.

"Each child received one big gift, a couple of little things, a few stocking stuffers, one outfit of clothing, socks and underwear," said Jenkins. "We also gave families a game to enjoy together."

Although the bulk of the Share Your Christmas presents are distributed a week before Christmas, donations continue to arrive and be distributed at the OACAC Neighborhood center, said Jenkins.

Share Your Christmas committee members Warren, Bertie Bailey, Bobbie Tucker, Margaret Beeson, Sylvia Sturgeon, Connie Lauderdale and Bev Ledenham are all valuable participants each year, said Jenkins.

Funds raised during the Share Your Christmas toy and fund drive benefit special requests and the OACAC Back to School Fair, which is held in August each year.

OACAC Share Your Christmas volunteers included: Jenkins, Terri Bradford, Robyn Cole and Valerie Hayden.

The OACAC Neighborhood Center serves as the point of contact for the Share Your Christmas project. All requests are made through the OACAC Barry County Neighborhood Center office, which is located at 907 North Main in Cassville.

For more information, call 847-2140.

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