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Schools see flood of Christmas spirit

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Column by Karen Skees

By KAREN SKEES

The Christmas season is a busy time at the Family Resource and Youth Services center thanks to the generosity and giving spirit of many individuals and groups in our community. Each year, before Thanksgiving, calls start to come in to our center from folks who want to sponsor children and/or families for Christmas.

We serve as a sort of “Yule Time Central,” taking referrals from counselors, teachers, parents and other interested community members, in an effort to identify families that might be struggling a bit this year and need some assistance for their children with clothing, food and gifts for the holidays.

It is a major team effort with local churches, businesses, service organizations and individuals to coordinate and optimize resources and efforts to provide for all children in our community. Agencies share information with each other about the families being served so that we can ensure there are no duplications and that as many children as possible receive assistance.

Helping Hand of Hope, Central Kentucky Community Action Agency and the Salvation Army all take applications for assistance and provide for hundreds of children each year. The Fraternal Order of Police will sponsor a shopping trip for 300 children this year. Kentucky State Police and local firemen take children shopping for new clothing and toys, as well. Many of our churches, other groups and individuals sponsor children through various angel trees, and the parents receive the gifts before Christmas to put under their trees at home.

It is very gratifying at this time of year to be a part of the huge outpouring of love for those who might have fallen victim to our difficult economy. To those of you who come forward to share your resources and time with those who are less fortunate, we cannot thank you enough. In the words of one of our parents, “I just didn’t know what we were going to do this year. We had no way to get any gifts at all for our children. Please thank whoever the benefactor is, on our behalf, for giving us the means to provide for our children.”

From Pam Haire, our family resource coordinator, and myself, thank you so much for providing the blessings that you do for these children. What a wonderful job we have, to be able to serve as Santa’s helpers.

Karen Skees is youth services center coordinator for Elizabethtown Independent Schools.