J.R.’s looking for needy kids

Published 10:49 pm Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Opp area children have until 4 p.m. on Fri., Dec. 5, to write letters stating why their families deserve help with Christmas. The letter writers must be 12 or younger.

Joe Richburg, owner of J.R.’s Lawnmower Shop, started the program in 2010, in conjunction with WAMI and WOPP.

Each year since then, J.R.’s has asked for letters from the community’s children, outlining what they would like for Christmas, and what began as an effort to give to one family in need, has blossomed into a program that last year provided for more than 70 children.

When the effort began, organizers wanted to give $500 to a needy family. As word spread, someone else agreed to fund $250 for a second place, and the growth continued. The program has grown, and a committee now provides gifts far beyond the $500, $300 and $200 prizes that headline the event.

Now, Robert Boothe and WOPP have added a bicycle component. Both WOPP and J.R.’s Lawnmower Shop are drop-off points for bicycles. Richburg has someone repair those that need to be tuned up; and those that are beyond repair are sold for scrap metal, with the proceeds being used to purchase additional bicycles. Last year, more than 200 bikes were distributed.

Winners will be announced by local media on Dec. 12.

Letters can be turned in to J.R.’s Lawnmower Shop. Those wishing to make contributions can make checks to Joe Richburg, and mail them to P.O. Box 329, Opp, AL 36467.