SYC serves more kids this year

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Volunteer elves help pack toys Democrat Photo/Lindsay Reed On Dec. 15, Share Your Christmas volunteers gathered at the Cassville United Methodist Church to collect, sort and pack toys for 480 Barry County children. The program served over 170 families this year. Pictured above, in the front row, from left, are: Jeanne Lambel, Bertie Bailey, Trish McCracken, Cheri Shumaker and Cheryl Smith. Back row: Linda Phipps, Sherri Miller, Beverly Worman, Kathy Urban, Angela Matthews and Bobbie Tucker. Absent from the photo are: Mindi Artherton, Rachael Freeman and Lindsay Reed.

Barry County Share Your Christmas served nearly 70 more children this year than in 2010. A total of 174 families and 480 children received gifts through the effort last week, and additional families will receive items this week.

"It has been great," said Gail Reed, Barry County OACAC director. "We had lots of toys donated through the ornaments and Herrin's toy drive. Everything has went really well."

On Dec. 15, Share Your Christmas volunteers collected hundreds of toys from area businesses and collection sites. Toys were sorted and packed at the Cassville United Methodist Church last Thursday morning.

Area parents were invited to pick up sacks of toys, which contained large and small gifts and stocking stuffers for each child and games or sports items for families, at the Cassville First Baptist Church on Friday.

The Family Support Division assisted with the distribution of gift items. The majority of the families who signed up for this year's effort were able to pick up their toys last week, said Reed.

Families received several items in addition to toys. For instance, the Cassville Quilters Club donated several handmade baby blankets and First Baptist Church of Cassville provided each family with a hygiene bag that included detergent, dryer sheets, soap, shampoo, toothpaste and other household products.

"Mrs. (Jenna) Shaffer's third grade class at Southwest Elementary School made 65 shoeboxes for the kids," said Reed. "They packed the boxes and wrapped them, which I thought was really cool. They made boxes for boys and girls and ones for either.

"I was very impressed by their effort," said Reed. "It was also a very fun thing to have to hand out. It was a really good year. We had a lot of volunteers."

The Share Your Christmas effort also provided parents with a voucher for clothing for each child. Parents of children between the ages of 13 and 18 who still attend school also received vouchers for Christmas gifts.

"I have never seen any community or people more generous than those who live here," said Reed. "There are so many people who wouldn't want to be named, but who go out of their way to make sure Christmas comes for every child on Dec. 25.

"I'm always amazed at the generosity and support Share Your Christmas has from this community," said Reed.

Several local individuals and organizations also assisted with Share Your Christmas by adopting complete families. This year, 36 families adopted by community members received gifts, clothing and household items.

The program would not be possible without Share Your Christmas Committee members Bobbie Tucker, Bertie Bailey, Sylvia Phillips, Cheri Shumaker and Trish McCracken and the Barry County OACAC Neighborhood Center staff, who oversee the gift collection, packing and distribution process.

Share Your Christmas accepts donations throughout the year. Individuals interested in supporting the program should call Reed at 847-2140.

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