Christmas at Home is here again as the 9th annual installment of the food and toy drive for those less fortunate is already seeing food and tons of toys being collected in time for delivery to homes before Christmas day.
Thanks to the generosity of citizens of Albany and Clinton County, including individuals, schools, churches, businesses and other organizations, over the past few years, the participation in the program has increased.
According to event organizer Pam Allred, owner of WANY 100.9 FM, the average number of families, or households that has benefitted over the past few years is around 200 and the number of children whose Christmas is made a little brighter is around 400 per year.
Several churches in the community collect non-perishable food items and the number of churches, as well as other businesses, etc. that get involved each year seem to increase. All churches participating this year are asked to have their food collected by Sunday, December 9 and delivered or picked up by December 10.
Toy collection boxes, as of early this week, were also set up at a few businesses in Albany, including Save-A-Lot, Fred’s, Dollar General Market and Dollar Giant. In addition to these locations, toys can be dropped off at the Clinton County News, WANY Radio Station and Albany City Hall, with the latter two also accepting food that will be distributed.
As has been the case for the past several years, the toy collections for the Christmas at Home drive has already received an early boost from a generous group of “residents” who call Dale Hollow Lake their “home away from home.”
Deb Flowers and Dana Turner came to the Clinton County News office last week to drop off a nice collection of new toys that had been collected through an annual project of local boaters and houseboat owners who spend their vacation and leisure time on houseboats and cruisers moored at Dale Hollow Lake.
Turner and Flowers noted that the collections had been made again through the efforts of their home organization, the Dale Hollow Yacht Club, and friends who joined in the effort this year to get the toy collections off to an early start (See photo of Turner and Flowers making this year’s toy delivery on page 5).
Allred asks that all toys–which need to be new–be turned in to the respective locations by Saturday, December 15. Distribution is expected to begin around December 19 and all items will hopefully be distributed to homes on the Wish List by December 21.
The annual event is sponsored by WANY, City of Albany, Clinton County News, Albany/Clinton County Chamber of Commerce and Clinton Fiscal Court.
With a project of this magnitude and this 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 those items, which the latter is primarily done by City of Albany employees.
Allred noted 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 buys. She added that a primary need each year for toys and gifts are for the ages of toddlers, “tweens” (those around 11-12 years of age) and teens.
Anyone can add a name or family to the list of people they feel could use the help by contacting WANY or Albany City Hall at 387-6011. Persons are asked to give the number of persons in the household and the number of children–broken down by sex–when adding people and homes to the list.
Also, anyone wishing to volunteer to help the Christmas at Home program in any way can contact the radio station or city hall.
Allred also noted that the always popular Treasure Hunt, a side event to the food and toy drive, would once again be held in December and more details, including rules, will be published in next week’s Clinton County News.