Now in its 15th year, the Carroll Christmas Fund is once again kicking the Holiday Spirit into overdrive to help the less fortunate in our area.
Donations of food, coats, toys, bikes and money continue to come in, but more is always needed with the current state of the economy. In fact, Carroll Christmas Fund President Dennis Ward said the organization delivered food boxes to 500 families last year, a record number since the tax-exempt, non-profit organization began helping needy families locally in 1997.
“We don’t have a count yet on this year, but with the lack of jobs and the economy we anticipate it being about the same as last year,” Ward said. “Unfortunately it keeps going up instead of down. Ideally it would go down. Certainly, there is a lot of need.”
Ward expresses his gratitude to the hundreds of volunteers, businesses, churches and organizations that help the Carroll Christmas Fund “do its thing” each year. Already there have been many calls for people in need.
“And thank the Lord we are already getting donations,” Ward said. “We’re excited and donations have already started coming in and we have started picking up canned food from the schools.”
But like so many in the area, the Carroll Christmas Fund is in need as well, particularly in regards to bread. Over the years, Ward said the organization has always gotten its bread from the Merita Bread Company. Merita was owned by Hostess Brands, however, which closed down its operations earlier this month.
“They are closed now so we have to find another bread source because that is one of the staples we put in every food box,” Ward said.
DeAnn Smith, who serves as secretary and treasurer of the Carroll Christmas Fund, said she’s been amazed by the amount of coats brought in this year. Several churches in the area have done coat drives this year, she said, resulting in approximately 600 coats taken to Social Services for families in need.
The Gideons are once again furnishing Bibles for each box and a local volunteer helped bring in over 60 bicycles for the Fund last year. Smith believes there will be even more bikes this year. Individuals are also great to donate toys throughout the year to add to food boxes for families with children.
Food boxes typically consist of staples such as ham, oranges, apples, flour, cornmeal, potatoes, canned vegetables, mixed nuts, old-fashioned candies, peanut butter, and bread. The National Wild Turkey Federation has also been good to provide the Carroll Christmas Fund with turkeys for some of the bigger families, Smith said.
Canned or non-perishable food donations can be made up until boxing day Dec. 20. Donations of toys need to be made by Dec. 14 to be included with this year’s boxes, while monetary donations can be taken anytime.
“Monetary donations and anything that comes in after Dec. 22 will be put toward the next year,” Smith said. “There are no administration costs. Every dollar goes straight to doing the boxes or buying toys.”
Donations can be dropped off at the The Dawn Auction office in Hillsville or mailed to The Dawn Auction Company at 235 West Stuart Drive, Hillsville, Va., 24343. Smith said anyone from the community may volunteer to help with sorting and boxing at the VFW building in Hillsville beginning at 6 p.m. on Dec. 20, or to help with deliveries beginning at 8 a.m. on Dec. 22. Call the Dawn Auction office at 728-9181 if you have any questions.
“It’s wonderful. It is the greatest lesson you can receive in Christmas,” Smith said of the Carroll Christmas Fund. “That is the greatest lesson to see you are helping others in your community because everything we do stays here in Carroll County because we have that much need in Carroll County.”