The recipients for the Ashe County Children’s Christmas Project arrived Tuesday morning at Family Central to pick up their children’s gifts during the all day event.
The Children’s Christmas Project is a non-profit gift drive organized by the Ashe Baptist Association and is funded by donations from individuals, businesses and churches. The project donates gifts to pre-identified children in need.
According to David Blackburn, president of the Ashe Baptist Association, about 200 volunteers donated their time to the $100,000 project. Volunteers solicited donations, wrapped gifts, and worked during the all-day event on Tuesday.
“It takes the whole county to make this work, the Ashe Baptist Association is just the head of the project,” said Blackburn.
At the beginning of the day, the Family Central gym was lined with an inspiring 1,001 trash bags filled with gifts for needy children of all age groups, said Blackburn. The project donated one bag full of gifts per child.
There were also about 75 bicycles available as gifts. To promote safe riding, the Ashe Baptist Association also provided bike helmets at a cost of approximately $1,000.
In addition to the gift bags, each recipient was allowed one book per child.
A portion of these books, according to Blackburn, were donated by citizens to collection sites like McDonalds, the Ashe County Library, and the Ashe County Partnership for Children.
To supplement the books donated, the children’s project also purchased about $800 worth of books, and offered devotional guides and bibles for teenagers.
Blackburn said the two biggest donors to the project include GE and Bald Mountain Baptist Church, but several other churches and companies donated as well.
Both parents’ and childrens’ eyes lit up, some tear-filled, when they received their gifts.
“This is really a blessing,” said one mother.
Blackburn responded, “this is what the season is all about.”
The collection and distribution process for the gifts has been streamlined into a simple and effective system.
Disadvantaged children are identified before the project begins, and those children receive letters asking what they would like for Christmas. This way, each child receives the gifts they would like most for Christmas, said Blackburn.
The gifts were placed in heavy-duty plastic bags, which according to Blackburn, that cost over $900.
This was a one-day-only event that lasted from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. All gifts that were not picked up on Tuesday will be donated to other families in need.