Time certainly flies when you're havin' fun. A glance at the calendar shows that the holiday season will arrive far too soon for most of us. With our focus on other events - elections, for example - it's easy to allow the holiday season to slip up before you know it. Here at the newspaper, that means one thing - the annual Community Christmas Campaign.
For 22 years, this newspaper has joined hands with individuals, service organizations, churches and others to bring holiday cheer to Sikeston families facing a critical need. This year will be no different. But one aspect is somewhat different. We have noticed that requests for Christmas baskets has already begun and that's both early and unusual. We've tried, quite frankly, to determine why the early interest but haven't come up with a good answer yet.
This year's campaign will be similar to those conducted over the past two decades. Our newspaper receives referrals from schools, social workers, Public Safety personnel, churches and state agencies. These referrals are screened for income verification and need. And then, quite honestly, we provide holiday cheer for as many families as our funds will allow. It's just that simple.
The Christmas baskets contain enough food items for several meals, holiday meat and fruits, sweets for the kids and much more. All of the children receive new socks, scarves, hats and gloves. And then there are the toys. Hundreds and hundreds of brand new toys bring smiles by the thousands on Christmas morning.
But let's be honest. This campaign depends solely on the generosity of Sikeston residents. It takes lots of money to purchase these items and deliver them to those in need.
Granted, canned goods are donated by Sikeston school children and dozens of groups donate toys. But the need is much greater than the total of donated items and that's why it takes funding to fill in the gaps. That's where you come in. There's just no other way to put it - we need your financial donations to assure that the kids in need in our community will have Christmas this year. And since I'm being honest, the sooner the better.
Even though Thanksgiving has yet to arrive, several groups are already working on this year's Christmas Campaign. For example, the Bootheel Golf Club Men's Association donated dozens and dozens of new toys following their annual Santa Golf Tournament last week. And the group also wrote a hefty check for the campaign. The Jaycees, as they have for over 20 years, were the first to make a donation for this year's campaign. And that donation will literally purchase nearly 100 fully stocked food baskets.
Walmart in Sikeston is collecting canned goods and the Sikeston Public Library is also collecting food items. Fas Gas and U-Pump stations in Sikeston will soon be selling Christmas Santa cards for display in their stores and the proceeds will benefit the campaign. School kids in Sikeston will also collect canned goods again this year. Last year the kids collected over 2,000 cans of food. And finally, the First Baptist Church Living Christmas Trees has again designated proceeds from their holiday event for the Christmas Campaign.
Soon Christmas will arrive. So it takes this early work and planning to assure holiday cheer for those in need. We urge you to send your donation today to the Community Christmas Campaign, P.O. Box 62, Sikeston. We would also like to hear from those interested in helping with delivery this year or with any donations.
You heard it here first. Merry Christmas!