Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 1, 2013

Little Jimmie: A tradition of love

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — For nearly 100 years, the Little Jimmie campaign has come to symbolize the unity that is southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. It’s a powerful combination of compassion, small-town pride and holiday spirit — all packaged lovingly in a red bag.

Make that 800-plus red bags!

And those red bags — stuffed full of toys, books, treats, toboggans, gloves and other goodies — can make all of the difference for children in our region who would otherwise go without this holiday season.

They won’t know that their parents had to ask for a little assistance this holiday season due to a layoff or unexpected financial hardship. Instead, they’ll simply know that it’s Christmas. And they didn’t have to wait “until next year.”

We all need a helping hand at times. A little extra something to help us get over the rough spots and back on track. And that is what the Community Christmas Tree fund is all about.

For kids whose Christmas morning is filled with an abundance of gifts of all shapes and sizes, the red bag may not seem like much. But for those who have nothing else, it means the spirit of Santa Claus is real — just as young Virginia was reassured so many years ago in the ever-popular holiday editorial.

For the parents and guardians of these children, the Community Christmas Tree also has special meaning. It represents the kindness and compassion of friends and neighbors.

As in years past, the Community Christmas Tree officially kicked off today — the first Sunday after Thanksgiving. And today’s front page of the Daily Telegraph bears the vintage drawing that underscores what the fund drive is about.

The drawing shows a poverty-stricken girl with her arms on the shoulders of a small boy in a sparsely furnished room. Both are barefoot, in threadbare clothing, standing beside a tiny, forlorn Christmas tree and two empty stockings. Comforting the young boy, the girl says, “Ats all right Jimmie. Maybe he’ll come nex’ Chris’mas.”

Through the years we have spoken with many who were helped by the campaign in decades past, and now volunteer — with time or donations — to help ensure our current generation of children will have a merry Christmas.

These individuals believe in the power of giving back, of helping those who are down on their luck.

And so do we.

The 2013 campaign begins today. Through your help and contributions, we can all ensure a bright Christmas this year for more than  825 children across our region who would otherwise go without this year.

A proud legacy of loving and giving continues.