Community Christmas Connection seeks financial help to provide for kids in need | Events
GRAVES COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - Mayfield-Graves County Community Education and the family resource and youth services centers of the Graves County Schools and Mayfield Elementary School are accepting donations of cash and new toys for the annual Community Christmas Connection assistance program through December 14.
The Community Christmas Connection is designed for children who likely would have few, if any, gifts during the holiday season without the community-wide effort. The 2011 program served some 1,027 children and 493 families. In the past five years, it has served some 4,881 children in 2,186 families. This year’s number of requests is growing and ultimately is expected to be even higher.
Families must apply for assistance. They then can choose gifts for their children based on a point system of need. The CCC Store is located in Mayfield at 316 S. Eighth Street.
"We really appreciate the help of two Mayfield churches," said Community Education director Kim Wheeler. "First United Methodist is loaning us their building space at no cost and First Assembly of God is putting Christmas food baskets together.”
“The Graves County Truck Pullers Association does such a wonderful job with their truck pull every August and we are extremely grateful to them and everybody who supports that fundraiser,” said Lori Beyer, coordinator of the Mayfield Elementary School Family Achievement: Child Excellence or F.A.C.E. Center. “Even with that large amount of money, this year’s need exceeds money contributed so far. We believe it’s the cumulative effect of one year of economic recession after another recently.”
“We’re asking for donations. We believe we need another $35,000 and we want to let the community know exactly what we need so those willing and able to help will have a goal to help us meet,” said Jennifer Morris, coordinator of SAFE, the Symsonia and Farmington FRC. “Most people want to know that their charitable giving is valued and makes a difference. I believe the store is a great idea because it’s encouraging families to budget and make choices to wisely use the gifts they’re given and, therefore, to appreciate them more. This year, families can earn extra points tied to responsible choices. So, I think rather than enabling bad choices, we are empowering families in need to make good choices.”
"We have been working on this program since September and it’s one of our biggest projects of the year,” said Jean Ann Miller, coordinator of the Family Ties Youth Services Center at Graves County Middle School. “Every year we wonder how we are going to be able to serve all the children and families in need of assistance. Our community always comes through for the kids! It is always great to see people coming together to do whatever it takes to make special dreams come true for these kids.”
“I believe this year we have seen a greater need for assistance than we ever have before,” noted Andrea Elliott, coordinator of the Sedalia-Cuba FRC. “This year, there’ve been several new families that we’ve never assisted with Christmas before. Giving warmth, love and hope, that's what Christmas should be about – a time to share our good fortune with our neighbors and children in need this year. No words can express the feeling that you have, when you help a child in need. A child’s smile is one of life’s greatest blessings and, with your donation, we can make countless children in our community smile.”
“The Christmas program is just a great way for the community to come together as a whole and help serve the families that are struggling to give their children a Merry Christmas,” said Graves County Central Elementary FRC coordinator Juliana Reyes. “There are so many people that are an integral part of this and without their generosity it wouldn’t be possible to continue this program.”
“It’s a great opportunity for civic groups, youth groups, and families to join their resources together to fill a great need in our community,” explained Stacy Harris, coordinator of the Fancy Farm-Lowes FRC. “Like the saying from the movie Robots, ‘See a need, fill a need.’ When many people contribute, the results will be big. Your gift may be small or big but, either way, know that your gift will be a blessing.”
"Community Christmas Connection is the one program we do where we personally witness how efforts of the whole community come together,” said Wingo FRC coordinator Tana Jones. “Donations into this program come from many sources. Of course, there are the obvious monetary and gift donations, but we see generosity through those donating our location space, those offering to teach community classes for parents, those volunteering to shop with us, and those who volunteer their time during the week our Christmas Store is open. We have folks who have helped us move from site to site year after year, and those who make sure our maintenance needs are met. From truck pulls to toy drives, to those who fill food baskets, the people in Mayfield and Graves County are the ones who make CCC a reality each year."
“When the store is open, it's Christmas for me too! There's a whole lot of hugging going on,” Kaye Horn said with a smile. She’s the coordinator of the Summit Youth Services Center at Graves County High School.
To donate or to learn more, contact Mayfield Elementary School’s F.A.C.E. Center at 270-247-0313, contact any Graves County school or phone 270-674-4908 or 328-4908.
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