DHS seeking holiday help for children

Published 7:59 pm Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Most people have fond memories waking up December 25, sneakingto the Christmas tree and peeking at presents wrapped in colorfulpaper hugged by giant bows.

Unfortunately, without the help of people willing to play Santa,there are children and teenagers in Lincoln County who will onlyget to experience Christmas as just another day.

“Our job is all about caring for the children,” said Jennifer Hart,division of family and child services supervisor for the LincolnCounty Department of Human Services. “I think it’s an important wayto show them that Christmas is a special time and people do careabout them.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

DHS is asking Lincoln County residents to play the role of Santa’slittle helpers to make sure 60 children in local foster care androughly 60 area children in needy families have a memorableChristmas this season.

Hart said that those willing to donate or “adopt” a child forChristmas can pick from a list located at the Lincoln County DHSoffice at 300 E. Chickasaw St. Items can also be dropped off atthat location.

She mentioned on the list people will find children aged fromnewborns to 18-year-olds, clothes and shoe sizes and special items.She also mentioned all donations need to be new and unwrapped, andthe deadline to donate items is Dec. 15.

“We try to make sure every child ends up with a little something,”said Hart.

In the program’s first year in 2009, the organization was able toprovide two to three gifts for roughly 50 Lincoln Countychildren.

“Christmas is a special time of the year where we celebratefamily,” said Hart. “We want to make sure that all of our childrenhave the support they deserve and need during the Christmasseason.”

Children will receive their gifts at a Christmas party on Dec. 21,which will feature food, music and a possible guest appearance bySanta himself.

“When you think that some of the children never really hadanything, this is kind of a neat experience,” said Hart.

Hart added that, to some, unwrapping gifts might only seem like afew hours of joy. However, tearing through boxes near twinklinglights and a cup of hot chocolate can give children going throughdifficult times a sense of community.

“It makes them realize they are not alone,” said Hart. “It givesthem a sense of belonging.”