Pike Co. Christmas Program

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 23, 2000

benefits the needy


Staff Writer

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While many will soon be preparing for the Christmas season, others will be wondering just how they will put food on the table and gifts under the tree.

That’s where organizations such as the Pike County Christmas Program step in to help.

Mashone Fleming, chairwoman of the 14-year-old program, has seen families with nothing walk out with bags of groceries and toys for their tots.

"The ones we help really need it," said Fleming, who has volunteered with the organization for 12 years.

To figure that out, all one has to do is "talk with some of these people who don’t have anything."

In order to qualify for the assistance, families of four must not make more than $400 per month and some, she said, make less than that.

Each family that qualifies is given two bags of groceries, a pound cake and a gift certificate for a turkey or ham, plus the toys.

Pike County Christmas Program’s first focus is providing toys for foster children in Pike County, but the elderly and less fortunate families also benefit from the program.

Fleming said elderly citizens are given gift cards to Wal-mart so they can purchase what they need.

"The amount we give just depends on how much we have," Fleming said.

The non-profit organization receives some financial assistance from the Pike County United Way, but still needs help in order to give Pike County residents something to celebrate this Christmas.

Pike County Christmas Program accepts (and is asking for) monetary donations, as well as those of new toys and food items.

For those that have some time to give, Pike County Christmas Program will be raising money with celebrity baggers at Food World on Dec. 1-2. That Friday, for a donation, volunteers will bag groceries (in one-hour shifts) from 4-7 p.m. and from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Volunteers are also needed to help put all the packages together for distribution on Dec. 14 and 15.

Fleming said donations of Christmas wrapping paper, bows and tape are also needed so the families can wrap their children’s gifts when they get home.

That money raised and donated to the program goes a long way all year to help those who are a little down on their luck.

"Our main focus is in the Christmas season, but we help people out all year long," Fleming said. "It really is a worthwhile program."

Anyone who can help provide Christmas for the less fortunate or need help themselves can call the Department of Human Resources at 807-6120 or Fleming at 808-2036.

Donations can also be mailed to P.O. Box 1255, Troy, AL 36081.