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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

Christmas campaign is under way

Sunday, November 10, 2002

Chuck Loafman, Steve Hardin, Mike Hill, Tony Hill and Jeff Ketterman bag toys that the Bootheel Golf Club Men's Association collected for the Community Christmas Campaign.
SIKESTON - "It's the eyes," explained a Standard Democrat Community Christmas Campaign worker about delivering a basket to a recipient last year. "They just crinkled up and sparkled with happiness. But when she started crying, I cried, too."

The worker is one of the first this year to volunteer to help the annual campaign which provides food and warm clothing for needy families and toys for children at Christmas time.

While it may seem much too early to think about the Christmas holidays, according to Standard Democrat publisher Michael Jensen the annual Community Christmas Campaign now requires months of planning.

"We have already contacted agencies about providing us with names of families," said Jensen, who initiated the Community Christmas Campaign more than 25 years ago. "Already we are hearing about deserving families who need and will appreciate the help this project provides."

Last year more than 250 boxes were filled with canned goods, a ham, bakery items along with gloves, blankets and hats for the recipients. Many of the boxes also included toys and clothing for youngsters.

"Fortunately we are blessed with great community support," said Jensen. "Without help from our many groups and individuals, the Community Christmas Campaign would not be possible."

Leading this year's campaign in making donations were the Sikeston Jaycees. The Bootheel Golf Club's Men's Association hosted the annual Santa Open on Nov. 2, providing money and toys for the campaign.

Also as part of the fund-raising effort, residents can become "Santa's Helper" with a $1 donation at Fas Gas stations or at the Standard Democrat.

Several Sikeston schools have volunteered to collect canned goods again this year for the Community Christmas Campaign. "Last year the kindergarten students brought in over 2,000 items," said Tim Jaynes, who is coordinating the campaign. "Those little kids really get into the spirit of Christmas."

The Sikeston Public Library has indicated it will again set aside a week when book fines will be forgiven in exchange for canned goods. The food is then donated to the Christmas Campaign.

This year the Wal-Mart Photo Lab staff is adding their assistance. For the donation of a canned good or other item of a value of 50 cents or more, the photo lab will provide a second set of prints free.

As they have for the past several years, proceeds from The First Baptist Church's Living Christmas Tree, set for Dec. 12-14, will be donated to the Christmas Campaign.

Charter Communications, also, will again invite residents to bring in a $10 toy in exchange for free cable installation. Jaynes explained the early donations enable the Campaign to better determine how many area residents it will be able to assist in December. "We hope to make this a merry Christmas for as many needy families as possible but it takes everyone pitching in. This really is a community campaign - the community is donating to make sure other members of the community have a merry Christmas."

Individuals who would like to assist in the Community Christmas Campaign can bring by donations of canned goods, new toys or money to the Standard Democrat, 205 S. New Madrid. Volunteers who would like to assist in the delivery of Christmas baskets on Dec. 18 can leave their names at the office.

Names of those receiving food baskets are referred to the Community Christmas Campaign through the schools, the Department of Public Safety and the homeless shelter. Names of basket recipients are not accepted at the newspaper office.