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Spirit of Christmas programs ready to help local kids

By Brian Knox | Published Saturday, November 4, 2017
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Spirit of Christmas

Messenger photo by Joe Duty

It’s beginning to look a lot like Spirit of Christmas time, everywhere you go around Wise County.

The Spirit of Christmas programs help provide gifts and clothing to local children in need. Families qualify for assistance based on income levels.

The application period has started at several different Spirit of Christmas campaigns around the county.

DECATUR SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

Decatur Spirit of Christmas applications are available at the Decatur Public Library and are due back Nov. 13.

The Decatur program has used the voucher system the past several years, which allows parents to do their own shopping for their children as opposed to having gifts donated by people in the community.

“It gives the parents that dignity that they can go and shop and pick out gifts for their children as opposed to a total stranger making those choices for them,” Decatur Spirit of Christmas volunteer Lori Reeves said.

Committee members said they want the public to understand parents aren’t simply given a gift card to use as they wish. The program has a couple of times for those who qualify for the program to come and shop at Walmart in Decatur. The parents check in with a volunteer, and their purchases are monitored by volunteers at checkout to make sure the gifts are age- and sex-appropriate. The gifts may be brought back to be exchanged for a different clothing size, for example, but cannot be returned for cash.

Reeves said she’s seen tears in the eyes of parents in the check-out line who are overjoyed at being able to provide a good Christmas for their kids.

“It’s good for the volunteers as well, because you can get caught up in the commercialism of Christmas, but on shopping night, it forces you to slow down and realize just how blessed you are and what kind of blessing you can pass on to another family who otherwise would not have a chance to buy something nice for their children for Christmas,” she said.

While the Decatur Spirit of Christmas no longer has Angel Trees, donations to the program may still be made at the DATCU branch location in Decatur and First State Bank in Decatur. Organizers have a fundraising goal of $13,000.

Last year Decatur Spirit of Christmas helped 56 families and 172 children. In the past 11 years, the program has helped more than 2,630 local children.

BRIDGEPORT SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

Bridgeport Spirit of Christmas applications can be picked up at the Bridgeport Library during regular business hours and are due back by Tuesday, Nov. 7.

The Bridgeport program uses the voucher system. Donations may be made at any bank in Bridgeport, or they can be mailed to Bridgeport Women’s Club, P.O. Box 485, Bridgeport, TX 76426, according to program spokesperson Mendee Williamson.

The organization holds a fundraiser golf tournament each October to raise money. This year’s tournament raised $11,000.

Last year the program helped 37 families and 95 kids.

SOUTH WISE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

South Wise Spirit of Christmas, which serves the Rhome, New Fairview and Aurora areas, has applications available at Rhome City Hall. Those applications are due by Nov. 17.

The South Wise program uses Angel Trees, where the public can choose an “angel” which lists the items requested by children along with clothing sizes. Those angels will be available on trees at Pinnacle Bank in Rhome and the Rhome Pharmacy in a few weeks.

Spokesperson Allynn Cary said the program usually helps between 85 and 100 children each Christmas.

Monetary donations to South Wise Spirit of Christmas may be made at Wells Fargo bank in Rhome.

BOYD SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS

Boyd Spirit of Christmas applications are available at all Boyd ISD schools and at Boyd City Hall. Forms must be turned in by Nov. 17.

Boyd’s program, which is organized through the Boyd Lions Club, uses vouchers and Angel Trees. Spokesperson Anke Bracey said angels will be on trees at Wells Fargo and First Financial banks in Boyd right after Christmas. Anyone who would like to adopt an angel can make a monetary donation at either bank.

Bracey said the program has a fundraising goal of $10,000 to help serve approximately 100 children.

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