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Cheer preparing to spread holiday spirit
900 boxes filled for needy
Daniel Fulcher (left) packs food boxes along with other volunteers Saturday morning for Christmas Cheer. They gathered in an assembly line at 211 Doyle St., Martinsville, to pack an estimated 900 boxes that will be distributed to less fortunate families during the week of Dec. 16. The boxes include roughly $50 worth of food and a blanket. (Bulletin photos by Mike Wray)
Monday, December 3, 2012
By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer
This year, Christmas Cheer is celebrating its 60th year of helping needy families in the Martinsville-Henry County area during the holidays.
On Saturday morning, volunteers gathered in an assembly line at 211 Doyle St., Martinsville, to pack an estimated 900 boxes that will be distributed to less fortunate families during the week of Dec. 16. The boxes include roughly $50 worth of food and a blanket.
According to Pam Allen, Christmas Cheer executive director, the food items to be distributed to qualified applicants include beans, rice, macaroni and cheese, cereal, hot chocolate, instant mashed potatoes, peanut butter, soup, fruit punch drink mix, cake and frosting, cookies and snack cakes.
“It’s a nice variety,” she said.
Also, children aged 10 and under will receive a gift tailored to their needs and interests based on the family’s application to Cheer.
The application determines eligibility based on need. Only residents of the Martinsville-Henry County area are eligible to participate, and the deadline for applying has passed.
Volunteers and donations still are needed.
Christmas Cheer volunteers range from church to 4-H group members to individuals. There are about 40 volunteers involved, plus others who showed up for Saturday’s “boxing day,” many of whom have been taking part in the event for several years.
“They see the need and the sincerity in the eyes of applicants,” Allen said. “They consider (volunteering) part of their Christmas.”
Allen, who is serving her second year as executive director, remains impressed with the Christmas Cheer board of directors and the efficiency of the assembly line.
“They do a great job,” she said. “It’s a well-oiled machine.”
The organization has not yet reached its annual $50,000 goal, but Allen is confident that more donations will be made in the days leading up to the distribution of gifts.
“I feel a little bit of an increase in awareness in the community” regarding donations, Allen said.
Individuals looking to donate money or toys to Christmas Cheer are invited to attend Big Bird’s Toy Run. The annual charity motorcycle run, sponsored by Ricky “Big Bird” Holcomb, will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday beginning at Big Bird’s Big Twins in Ridgeway and ending at Sportlanes in Collinsville.
“We appreciate everything he does,” Allen said, adding that last year, more than 350 vehicles took part in the toy run.
Allen encouraged others to volunteer and donate.
“It will make their Christmas to be a part of someone else’s,” she said.
Donations may be sent to: Christmas Cheer, P.O. Box 540, Martinsville, Va. 24114.