Christmas At Home has best year ever

Posted January 3, 2014 at 2:37 pm

What started out both somewhat sooner than usual, and even slower”than hoped for, turned out to be the most successful year ever for the now annual Christmas at Home food and toy drive.

The final totals are now in, and according to event organizer Pam Allred, owner of WANY Radio Station, one of the event sponsors, the program–which is now gone through 10 years in 2013–turned out to be the most successful to date, counting the number of families and/or children reached.

The 10th annual Christmas at Home drive helped supply food and toys this past holiday season to some 246 homes, and just as importantly, reaching out to some 545 children–both new records.

According to Allred, the program has almost always reached out to 200 plus homes and one year did slightly exceed 500 in the number of children who were touched by the event, but both bottom line numbers for this year was a new record for each.

“It seemed we had families with more children per family this year than in the past,” Allred commented. However, she also noted there seemed to be more individuals who made donations of food and/or toys to support the cause this year.

Since its beginning a decade ago, the event has always been a success thanks to the generosity of businesses, sponsors, churches, organizations and, of course, individuals donating to make the holidays a little better for local and area residents in need of some help around the Christmas season.

Churches also play a big role each year and are usually asked to donate non-perishable food, but some collect both food and toys. This year, participation among churches in the county was also up slightly, from 11 in 2012 to 13 churches taking part this past season.

Allred noted the drive, which usually begins around Thanksgiving, got underway a little earlier this year due to the actual Thanksgiving day falling later in the month than normal.

Also, she added that early on, donations came in a bit slow, but really picked up as the month of December moved along, and despite the additional amount of families and children added to this year’s “wish list,” there were plenty to go around.

Volunteers worked for weeks boxing up the items collected and separating the food and toys per family–which was delivered primarily by the city water department.

Although the water department employees were somewhat hampered in making deliveries to homes due to having to work on repairing several water line breaks throughout the month, practically all deliveries were made before Christmas Day.

There were only a handful of families that weren’t reached prior to Christmas, Allred noted, because some had moved to different locations with their new addresses having to be located.

“I’m thrilled,” Allred told the Clinton County News earlier this week. “It’s really great to have a record breaking year and enough gifts and food donated with the economy as bad as it currently is,” she added, saying she was looking forward to another year in 2014.

Allred thanked everyone who was involved in any way in helping make a record-breaking year, especially the volunteers who helped–although more could have been used.

The annual event is sponsored each year by WANY, Albany Mayor Nicky Smith and City Council, the Clinton County News, Chamber of Commerce and Clinton Fiscal Court.