More than 650 sign up for ‘Christmas’

Published 11:59 pm Monday, November 9, 2009

Christmas is less than two months away, and starting next Monday, Covington County residents can do their part to help bring holiday cheer to more than 600 children in the area.

Andalusia Community Christmas is a project that provides gifts to children from low-income and other needy families, thanks to the generosity of members of the community. The event originally began as a small-scale project of the Kiwanis Club, but has grown to encompass a variety of civic clubs and other community organizations.

Larry Avery, chairman of Andalusia Community Christmas, said more than 630 children registered Saturday to participate in this year’s event. Children eligible to participate in the program must come from a family that has demonstrable need, and who lives in either the Andalusia, Straughn, Red Level or Pleasant Home school districts.

“I’m guessing that by the time our list is finalized, we’ll probably have somewhere between 660 and 670 children signed up,” he said. “We’ll be about 40-50 higher than last year, I’d say.”

This year, registration was held at each of the four participating schools, and at approximately the same time. This is the second straight year the event has had one-day-only registration, and Avery said it again worked well.

“We probably had about 30 volunteers who worked to make sure registration was a success,” he said. “At Andalusia Middle School alone, we had more than 400 children sign up.”

Avery said Andalusia Community Christmas volunteers are currently in the process of transcribing the children’s gift requests onto paper angels, which should be available at local businesses as early as next Monday. Those who patronize the businesses are invited to take one or more angels home, and are then responsible for purchasing those gifts.

The evening of Fri., Dec. 18, the gifts will be handed out to the children at a community Christmas party at the Kiwanis Building.

Avery said Andalusia Community Christmas is a wonderful event that shows the generosity of those who live in Andalusia and the surrounding community.

“It takes a lot of volunteers to make this event a success,” he said. “But this event would be a complete failure if we didn’t have the support of the community. The community has always been very generous in helping these kids have a Merry Christmas, and I’m sure our citizens will be just as giving this year.”

Anyone who would like more information about Community Christmas or would like to still register his or her child to receive a gift can call the Andalusia Area Chamber of Commerce at 222-2030 or Sav-A-Life at 222-0644. Andalusia Community Christmas, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax-deductible.

Donations may be sent to Andalusia Community Christmas, Inc., P.O. Box 1525, Andalusia, AL 36420.