ELVES AT WORK – This past weekend, Santa’s Helpers in Dresden hosted Grandparents Day and dozens of area grandparents, step-parents and guardians made appointments to gather toys in order to ensure that their children have a merry Christmas this year.
The Press 12/21
Christmas is now but a heartbeat away and local charitable organizations like Santa’s Helpers and We Care Ministries are working double duty pouring out their hearts to needy families to ensure that the holiday is an especially happy one.
This past weekend marked Santa’s Helpers’ third annual Grandparents Weekend and the appointment book was filled with area grandparents, step-parents and other guardians hoping to make Christmas special for their loved ones.
“We’ve been taking in used toys and styling them like new and we let the grandparents and other guardians come in and choose the toys for their kids,” Director Lou Ann Powers explained.
“They’ve made appointments to come in and choose the toys and the more kids they have, the longer the appointment, of course.”
So many appointments were made that Powers, Judy Freeman and other volunteers had to open up Sunday as well. In all, about 125 kids will receive toys, clothes and other necessities from loving guardians from this past weekend’s event alone.
“For the regular Christmas store, no one is turned away,” Freeman reported. “Several people have been coming in lately from South Fulton, McKenzie, Paris and Dyersburg because their local organizations have closed acceptance. Thanks to a good Samaritan, we’ve had several boxes of toys donated and it has really helped us with last-minute applicants.”
After the Christmas break, from Dec. 22 to Jan. 3, winter clothes will be restocked and the mission of providing warm clothing for the winter months will continue.
At that time, the store will be open its regular hours from 1-4 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, but emergencies can still be phoned in during the holiday break.
Powers and Freeman give credit to the many volunteers from the University of Tennessee at Martin and other places who so freely give of their time. This also includes Freeman’s husband, Jack, who serves as the toy man and gopher.
“The volunteers work day and night. They come through like troopers,” Freeman remarked. “We also have wonderful sponsors in our local businesses, churches and individuals. Our goal is that no one goes without a Christmas.”
To find out more information, call Powers at 731-364-2113 or Freeman at 731-514-4949.