Christmas at Home food/toy drive begins 10th year

Posted November 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

The always popular holiday program aimed to help those families and children less fortunate is already underway once again. This year will mark an anniversary of sorts for the Christmas at Home event, which is now underway for the 10th year.

According to event organizer Pam Allred, owner of WANY Radio Station, the program is getting a bit earlier start this year in order to help make sure all food and toys for the drive are collected, boxed and distributed to families by Christmas day.

Thanks to the generosity of Albany and Clinton County citizens, the program has assisted thousands of families and children over its run and sponsors are hoping this year’s drive will equal or match last year’s numbers.

In 2012, a total of 229 homes were assisted, with 491 children benefitting from the food and toy drive. The record numbers were set the previous year of 2011 when some 533 children received food and toys as a result of Christmas at Home.

The program is sponsored annually by the City of Albany, Clinton County Fiscal Court, Chamber of Commerce, WANY Radio and the Clinton County News. The City of Albany water and street department employees are generally charged with delivering the food and toys to the homes that are added to the “wish list” each year.

A major factor in the drive, especially in the amount of non-perishable food collected to families, is the local churches. Last year, around 13 churches participated in collecting food from their congregations and this year, Allred is asking that churches that wish to participate to notify City Hall and also put out collection boxes through Sunday, December 1.

The food collected can be delivered to City Hall or the radio station or be picked up by volunteers in early December.

Toy collection boxes will be set up at various locations and can currently be dropped off at the Clinton County News, Albany City Hall or the radio station with additional locations to be announced next week.

Allred noted that all toys should be new and that now would be a good time to donate toys to the drive, since around Thanksgiving and Christmas, local businesses have a lot of bargain toys. She also said that a primary need each year for toys and gifts are for the ages of toddlers, “tweens” (those 11-12 years of age) and teens.

With a project of this magnitude and with as many homes involved, it couldn’t be possible without the help of volunteers who box the food and toys, help collect the items donated and eventually delivering them.

Anyone can add a name or family to the list of people they feel could use assistance by contacting WANY or Albany City Hall (387-6011). Persons are asked to give the number of persons in the household and the number of children–listed by sex–and specific address, if possible, when adding people or families to the list.

Also, anyone wishing to volunteer with the program in any way to help the Christmas at Home event should contact the radio station or City Hall. Since volunteers are always an important aspect of the program’s success, it is hoped more people will lend a hand this year.