I applied for the Spirit of Christmas and was accepted to receive a voucher to shop at Wal-Mart. I got a letter in the mail telling me a date and time to pick up my voucher and a box of food.
On Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. I went to pick up my voucher and a box of food. The weather had already started getting bad. I picked up my voucher and food and went straight home. By the time I got back to Farm Road 407 at Farm Road 2264, there was a two-vehicle accident that was being directed.
I called Wal-Mart Saturday. There was not a phone number to contact to find out if I could get in touch with someone who knew about the Spirit of Christmas to reschedule a time to use my voucher. I had talked to someone in accounting at Wal-Mart, and she had agreed that this weather was too dangerous to be out driving around and she would have one of the volunteers call us back and schedule a date and time that was going to be a safe time to travel.
When the volunteer called back, she said that they were going to shoot for the following Wednesday, but they weren’t sure and that someone would call ahead of time to let me know. I had been waiting for someone to call and let me know when I could come and use my voucher.
I finally got a call from someone, a half-hour before they were going to stop taking vouchers. There is no way I could have arrived at Wal-Mart in 30 minutes with the streets still iced over. I was not given enough time to get ready to get to Wal-Mart safely and without risking having an accident.
A week passed, and I called and left a message for the person in charge of the Spirit of Christmas. They did not return my call.
I called back a couple of days later and finally talked to someone about getting the opportunity to use my voucher. She was less than sympathetic to my plight, suggesting that it was my fault that I couldn’t make it to town and that the weather had nothing to do with it.
I finally decided to take it to the paper and let everyone know that this was not the Spirit of Christmas.
John and Kandra Morris
EDITOR’S NOTE: Each of the 47 families approved to receive help from the Decatur Spirit of Christmas campaign were to pick up a box food and vouchers on Thursday, Dec. 5. Families could redeem those vouchers at Wal-Mart in Decatur during certain time slots that night, Friday or Saturday.
Because of an ice storm that was expected to hit Thursday night, families were encouraged to redeem their vouchers that night, and more than half of the families did. However, Spirit of Christmas volunteers were present at Wal-Mart Friday and Saturday for voucher redemption.
All but eight families redeemed their vouchers by Saturday afternoon. Spirit of Christmas volunteers called each of those families to tell them an extra day of voucher redemption had been added and was scheduled for that Wednesday. Six of those families redeemed their vouchers that day.
Because of the steps taken to ensure that the vouchers are used for their intended purpose, a Spirit of Christmas volunteer must be present during voucher redemption. The monetary value of the vouchers not redeemed this year was put back into the Spirit of Christmas account for next year’s campaign.