The 39th annual Sharing at Christmas fundraising drive is under way to provide holiday help for families in need in Union County.
The Sharing at Christmas program, sponsored by the New Albany Gazette with the help of many community volunteers, will provide about 200 families with food assistance and toys for their children.
A fundraising goal of $15,000 has been set for this year’s campaign.
Resident families of Union County in need of assistance may apply for the Sharing at Christmas program from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at the Gazette office, 713 Carter Ave., in New Albany. Phone or e-mail applications are not accepted.
Applications forms may be picked up beginning Monday, Oct. 28, at the Gazette, at the New Albany City Hall on Bankhead Street, the Union County Chancery Clerk’s office on Main Street, or any New Albany City school or Union County school. Completed applications must be returned to the Gazette office no later than 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2.
When all of the applications have been received, approximately 200 families will be selected. Selection is based on need through a screening process.
Applicants must provide information about residents in each home, income, benefits received and any special needs. The Gazette does not conduct the screening.
Each selected family will receive a large box of food. Families with small children in the home also will receive age-appropriate toys. The boxes will be delivered to families a few days before Christmas.
A large number of volunteers, including employees of the Gazette, the Union County Sheriff’s Department, the New Albany Police Department, the Union County Supervisors and their road crews and New Albany Light, Gas and Water, help with the collection, packing and distribution of the food and toys.
“We have set an ambitious goal, even more than was collected last year, but the needs are great,” said Wayne Mitchell, Gazette publisher. “We know that Union Countians always have responded when their neighbors were in need and we expect this year will be no different.”
The Gazette’s Sharing at Christmas program accepts donations of money and new toys from individuals, businesses and civic groups.
The program has no administrative costs; all of the money collected goes for food and toys for the needy, Mitchell said.
A donation coupon will appear in each issue of the Gazette. Names of those who donate, along with the donation amount, will appear in a list in each issue of the Gazette until after Christmas.
Readers also may make a donation in honor of another person, in memory of someone, or may have their donation listed as anonymous. Just check the desired box on the newspaper coupon.
The donation, along with the donation coupon, may be mailed to Sharing at Christmas, P.O. Box 300, New Albany, MS 38652 or dropped off at the Gazette office.