The Carroll Christmas Fund has grown each year since 1997, the year the non-profit organization began making Christmases a little brighter for local families.
That year, a total of 64 boxes of food, toys, clothes and other items were delivered to local families that were in need during the Christmas season. That number grew to an all-time high of 600 families last year, which isn’t necessarily a good thing.
“I think you can attribute the growth to the economy and the people out of work. The need has grown so much,” said DeAnn Smith, Treasurer of the Carroll Christmas Fund. “We always hope there will be less each year, but unfortunately that number has grown every year since the beginning. I think we will be down a little bit for the first time this year. We are looking at about 550 families this year, but there are still applications available through December 6, I believe.”
Regardless of numbers, Smith says the Lord has blessed the project every year since its conception. Every dollar and item donated to the Carroll Christmas Fund stays in the county.
“This is Christmas for a lot of people and that is what we do it for. You hate to think there is a child Christmas morning that wouldn’t get something,” Smith said. “Everything donated to the Carroll County Christmas Fund goes straight into these boxes or to buy toys for these families. It all stays in Carroll County.”
There are many ways members of the community can help with the project, including volunteering time to making donations. Even the smallest donation will help make this Christmas a little merrier for someone in need.
“No donation is too small. Every dollar will make a difference for somebody at Christmas,” Smith said. “We don’t want them to think we just need big donations.”
There are many aspects of the Carroll Christmas Fund, Smith noted. For instance, what started as one church doing a coat drive has expanded to the point that almost 600 coats were delivered last year. This year, 300 coats have already been collected for delivery. Along with monetary donations, new toys are always needed.
“In those 550 families, we are probably looking at over 400 children,” Smith said. “People can also donate food. We take non-perishable food. People can give it to their child’s school or bring it to our office, as well as coat or monetary donations here at 235 West Stuart Drive.”
Donations of food, coats, bike, new toys, etc. will be taken until the week of December 16 for this year’s Carroll Christmas Fund. Monetary donations will always be accepted as bills will still be due until the end of the month to pay for the many food items that go into each box.
Folks can also help by volunteering labor. Sort and box day will be Dec. 19 at the Hillsville VFW beginning at 6 p.m. Delivery will begin at 8 a.m. on Dec. 21 at the VFW.
“Anyone is welcome to help with the boxing or delivery,” Smith said. “We can use all the help we can get. As Dennis (Ward) says, they will get a blessing from it.”
Smith said anyone that would like to apply to be included in the Carroll Christmas Fund can do so by calling Dawn Auction at 728-9181 or the Carroll County Department of Social Services.
“It’s just a huge community project,” Smith said. “There is nothing like it to see everybody come together this time of year. It is just amazing.”