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PCCP needs volunteers

to distribute food, gifts

By MICHELLE J. WILSON

Staff Writer

Children’s Christmas presents are wrapped, and their holiday dinners are bought.

The only thing left for the Pike County Christmas Program to do is distribute these packages Friday to families with special needs.

The distribution will be at the Pike County Fairgrounds on U.S. Highway 231 South from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. Families who qualify for the giveaway have been mailed postcards with times for them to pick up the food and presents, said Program Co-Chairperson Mashone Fleming.

Volunteers are needed to help in the distribution process and cleaning up after it is over, she said.

If you would like to help, call Fleming at 484-4583 ext. 28 or PCCP Co-Chairman Phil Skeen at 566-1321.

"You can’t really understand the program until you watch someone getting their groceries," Fleming said. "You can tell from the expressions on their faces they are so thankful someone cares enough to help their family.

"It makes us more thankful for what we have and this program. It is a way we can give back to others."

The Pike County Christmas Program brings Christmas presents and dinner to the foster children and less fortunate families of Pike County, she said.

Each year, the foster parents are given $100 per foster child to buy Christmas gifts for him or her, Skeen said. Also, the less fortunate families of Pike County can apply through the Department of Human Resources to receive money for gifts.

To be eligible for the PCCP, a family without foster children can make no more than $100 per family member per month, he said. For example, a family of four can make no more than $400 a month.

Families are screened by the Department of Human Resources for eligibility.

When approved, each family will get two bags of groceries, a pound cake, a gift certificate for a ham or turkey from selected grocery stores and $25 worth of toys per child, Fleming said. This provides Christmas gifts to those children who might not otherwise receive any presents.

The PCCP also provides Christmas for the less fortunate elderly members of the community, Skeen said.

PCCP started in 1987 as an outreach of Park Street United Methodist Church, which is now known as Park Memorial United Methodist Church, he said. Now it is an independent program.

These special Christmas gifts would not be possible without the generosity of area individuals and businesses. Although most of the program’s funds come from United Way, PCCP also solicits donations from the community.

"Every dollar we get goes to the children," Skeen said, "Our program has very low administrative costs."

If you would like to give financially, send a tax-deductible donation to Pike County Christmas Program, P.O. Box 1255, Troy, AL 36081.

The Pike County Christmas Program is still taking donations to fill additional needs, Fleming said. If money is leftover after the holiday, it will be used to help families as needs arise over the year.