Community Christmas reduces age limit to 10

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Even though the holiday season is months away, organizers of Andalusia’s Community Christmas are working on this year’s event and have announced that registration will be held on Nov. 2, and that the age limit for qualifying children has been reduced, organizer Larry Avery said Monday.

Residents are also asked to begin planning now to help provide needy children in Andalusia and throughout the county with a memorable Christmas.

Last year, more than 600 children were provided for through the program. Generally, the program serves children from age 2 through 13 residing in only the Andalusia, Pleasant Home, Red Level and Straughn school districts. That age has been reduced from 13 to 10, Avery said.

“Each year, we have a hard time getting people to adopt the children between 11 and 13, and we had to purchase gifts for those children out of the general fund,” Avery said. “With the number of elementary school students expanding, we decided to focus where it is needed the most.”

The cities of Florala and Opp have their own respective “Community Christmas” program.

“This program works through a team effort,” Avery said. “Community Christmas works by having the community adopt ‘angels.’ Then, the community purchases gifts for those ‘angels.’ We recommend about $60 be spent on each child. That doesn’t buy a lot, so people usually spend more; however, to those families, it means the world.”

Recent figures show that the organization spends approximately $50,000 a year to provide Christmas for the needy families. The group provides toys and clothing to those who qualify for the program.

Additionally, 150 bicycles are distributed each year to children.

In order to determine if the family qualifies for the program, individuals must bring the following documents at the time of the November registration: the picture ID of the parent registering their children, i.e. driver’s license, school ID, work photo ID, etc.

• Birth certificate with documentation of guardianship for each child that is not one’s biological child. Note that only parents and guardians are allowed to register their children. No grandparents, aunts or other individuals unless they are legal guardians.

• Proof of residence such as a current bill or rent receipt that shows one’s physical address. No post office addresses will be accepted.

• Proof of government assistance such as WIC, Medicaid, SSI, etc.

Community members wishing to help make the event possible can submit tax-deductible donations to Andalusia Community Christmas Inc., P.O. Box 1525, Andalusia, AL 36420.