Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

December 21, 2013

Community Christmas Tree delivers gifts to hundreds of children

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Generous contributions and hard working volunteers came together Saturday afternoon and delivered red bags full of Christmas joy during the annual Community Christmas Tree party.

More than 800 red gift bags were waiting at the Herb Sims Youth Center on Stadium Drive when families started arriving for the party. Slightly fewer than 800 children had been registered, said Editor Samantha Perry of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. It was the 94th annual party organized by the newspaper.

Months of preparation and fundraising went into making the party a reality. Local musicians such as Don Whitt and the Little Jimmie Band entertained the families while they waited to receive the stuffed gift bags. When the distribution started, volunteers, such as the Bluefield High School varsity basketball team and members of East River Street Rods, presented gifts and helped some people carry the bags to waiting cars.

Parents waiting in the gymnasium said they did not know what they would do for Christmas if it were not for the Community Christmas Tree. Nikki Johnson, of Glenwood, said she was grateful to the donors and volunteers.

“Thank you. They do a good job and they do a lot of good for little kids,” she said.

Outside the youth center, children could hardly wait to look inside their gift bags. Samantha Jane Huffman, 3, of Tazewell, Va., peeked into her red bag while her mother, Amanda, watched. When asked if she liked her presents, Samantha Jane had a quick response.

“Yes!” she said with a smile.