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Fostering a merrier Christmas

Photo by Julia Miller / Wish Tree co-chairmen Sheila Sartin (back) and Amy Mason place ornaments on a Christmas tree at C Spire. Each ornament represents a child available for “adoption.” Although each child remains anonymous, information such as sizes and interests are included.

Photo by Julia Miller / Wish Tree co-chairmen Sheila Sartin (back) and Amy Mason place ornaments on a Christmas tree at C Spire. Each ornament represents a child available for “adoption.” Although each child remains anonymous, information such as sizes and interests are included.

Each year, the community comes together to help make sure children in Lincoln County have a merry Christmas through Junior Auxiliary of Brookhaven’s Wish Tree project. Wish Tree 2016 Co-chairs Sheila Sartin and Amy Mason have an amazing group of committed ladies running the Wish Tree workshop this year.

Year after year, the project shows the importance of community support as trees go up more and than 200 children are “adopted” by Brookhaven and Lincoln County’s residents. This year, trees around Brookhaven started out with 251 ornaments and can be found at C Spire, Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, J Allan’s, King’s Daughters Medical Center lobby and both Piggly Wiggly locations.

Each ornament gives the necessary information about the child, including age, clothing, shoe sizes and a few interests. Shoppers are asked to purchase three toys, two outfits, shoes, socks and underwear. The toys should be chosen as good, better and best for each child.

“If your church or civic group is searching for a meaningful holiday project, what better way to help your community?” Mason said.

All gifts should be turned in no later than Nov. 28. Drop-off locations include C Spire, the Chamber, J Allan’s and Betsy Smith Properties.

The biggest requests by parents are bicycles. Last year, each Wish Tree child was fortunate enough to each receive a bike and helmet thanks to the generosity of one anonymous donor. Not only is it fun for the child, but bikes promote a healthy and active lifestyle.

For at least 30 years, Junior Auxiliary has partnered with community to bring a merry Christmas to needy children in Brookhaven and Lincoln County

For at least 30 years, Junior Auxiliary has partnered with community to bring a merry Christmas to needy children in Brookhaven and Lincoln County

“We commonly have employees at different companies go together to adopt,” Sartin said. “We count on the generosity of our community to help make Wish Tree the success it is, year-in and year-out.”

Children are recommended based on need, as determined by a confidential referral system assisted by the public schools and community agencies. The 2016 referral process has been completed, and additional referrals are unable to be accepted for this holiday season.

Wish Tree is JA’s longest-running service project, and while an exact beginning date is not known, it goes back at least 30 years. Each year JA members are humbled by the gratitude shown by the parents when they receive the gifts for their children.

For those who choose not to adopt a child, JA welcomes donations of toys, bikes and money. For more information, call the Wish Tree Hotline at 601-754-4349 or email jabrookhaven@gmail.com.