Opp Community Christmas to help 270 kids

Published 1:04 am Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Recent donations to the Opp Community Christmas drive have proven that the spirit of giving is still alive and well in the city of Opp.

Donations were slow coming during the opening weeks of the effort, but according to Tonitta Sauls, executive director of the Opp Chamber of Commerce, things have really taken off.

“It started off very slow and then all of the sudden every hour upon hour people were dropping things off,” she said. “We had one couple stop by with a U-Haul type trailer packed full of new toys. It was simply amazing.”

Today is the final day to drop off donations for the gift drive, which operated as a combined effort between the chamber and local churches for the first time this year. It is an effort Sauls said has helped to make the operation more effective.

“We made the decision to combine everything to keep down the duplication of effort and to make sure we spread the givings to everyone who is eligible,” she said. “We wanted to make sure we did not have families going from church to church.”

Sauls said the joint effort helped to cut down at least 100 duplications of names on the list, which still contains approximately 270 children ages 12 and under.

“All of the families have been researched and contacted,” Sauls said. “We have verified the need through various agencies to ensure that all donations are given to families who are truly in need.”

The cutoff day to submit names for inclusion in the Opp Community Christmas passed Fri., Dec. 12, and Sauls said she feels the gifts received from the community will ensure each child on the list receives something under his or her tree.

“We have been very blessed with the giving of the residents,” she said. “They want to make sure all children have items for Christmas. We appreciate the compassion everyone has had.”

Gift donations will be accepted until 5 p.m. today at the Opp Chamber of Commerce. For more information contact the chamber at 334-493-3070.