“We had twenty-eight hundred to start with, and evaluated them for one thousand of the most needy,” said Rev. David Blackburn, director of missions for the Ashe Baptist Association and one of the organizers of the project that provides gifts to children in need.
“I’m very pleased. The community has responded well,” Blackburn added. “We have been able to serve about one thousand and twelve.”
Blackburn said the community has been very generous. “Folks have given financially this year more than ever. That’s amazing in this economy,” he said. One man and his wife donated 400 new sweaters of all different sizes, Blackburn said, and those will be added to the gift bags. The financial donations help tremendously with the costs, including $800 for the large trash bags in which gifts are collected, $1,200 for wrapping paper and $220 for tape. The group wastes nothing and uses every little bit of material.
Volunteers began wrapping on Wednesday at Family Central and moving the gifts from the staging area to the gymnasium where they will be sorted alphabetically for the families to pick up. Wrapping continues through Dec. 7. Volunteers scheduled so far include church groups, Cooperative Extension, school groups, library staff, board of education staff, Partnership for Children, Generations from the senior center, and individuals.
More volunteers are always welcome to help wrap and sort the thousands of gifts donated by community and corporate sponsors. Individuals may drop in at any time between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Groups should call for a scheduled time. Call 877-7233 or 846-5631.
New books can also be donated as they will be distributed to the families with the gift bags. Every year the project seeks to give a book to each child. Many children who are eligible for this project do not have books in the home. You can bring one or more new children’s books to Ashe County Public Library, McDonald’s restaurant, Ashe Partnership for Children, or the Ashe Mountain Times. Many churches are also serving as drop-off sites to make bringing a book as convenient as attending church on Sunday.
The book drive will run through Dec. 7. Children from age birth to 18 are served by this project and books are needed for all age groups.
Financial donations to the project may be made to Ashe Baptist Association, P.O. Box 850, Jefferson, NC 28640, designated to Ashe County Children’s Christmas Project. The project is a joint effort of county churches, schools, agencies and volunteers.