Christmas At Home is another huge success

Posted January 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Another local program that has become a mainstay over the past few years insofar as helping those less fortunate during the Christmas holidays has wrapped up yet another successful eight season run.

Despite the lagging 2011 economy, citizens in Albany and Clinton County, as well as surrounding areas, once again showed their generosity by helping make the Christmas at Home toy and food drive a huge success. The event, over the years, has spawned more and more local participation when it comes to collecting food, toys and in some instances, clothing to benefit those families and children less fortunate around the holiday season.

Participation from churches, businesses, organizations and primarily individuals even seemed to pick up this year compared to years past, despite a bit of a late start in getting the event underway this time around, according to Pam Allred, who began organizing the program in 2004.

In one category, the Christmas at Home program set a new record–some 533 children were assisted through the program this year. That compares to 451 kids a year ago and broke the 2008 mark when 488 children received toys and food through the drive.

The number of homes this year was 248, up only from 237 homes last year, but Allred also attributes that to the economy. She noted this year, with many people being out of work or working less than a year ago, there were household names included on the “Wish List” this year compared to previous years and most of the families had one or more children in the household.

“There were some families in need of help this year that hadn’t needed assistance before,” she noted. She added that usually left over food beyond the households served were donated to the elderly, etc.

She also mentioned the spawning of other groups that helped collect toys and food this year that in turn donated to the program, including the dirt racers in the county who held an event this past fall called “Racing for Toys” as well as the annual Dale Hollow Lake Yacht Club toy drive and the Albany and Beech Bottom Masonic Lodge pancake breakfast fundraiser that garnered almost $700 that went toward the purchase of food and toys.

Deliveries were made to homes on the list between December 20 and 23 by City of Albany employees and there were also several individual volunteers who helped throughout the drive with wrapping toys and boxing food that was distributed prior to Christmas Day.

Apparently there were a few more individual donations made as well, as Allred cited the fact that despite the 72 extra children and 11 extra households assisted, there were enough donations to go around.

Allred thanked everyone who donated to the worthwhile cause in any way and also added there would be a full listing of those who donated to the Christmas at Home drive, as well as those who donated to the side event, the Treasure Hunt, listed in next week’s edition of the Clinton County News.