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Let the Little Jimmie party begin!
After weeks of planning and anticipation, the big day is finally here for more than 825 children across the region. The 2012 edition of the Community Christmas Tree gets underway today at noon and continues until 1:30 p.m. at the city auditorium on Stadium Drive in Bluefield.
Organizers and volunteers with the Little Jimmie party are monitoring a winter storm, which is expected to impact the region today, Daily Telegraph Editor and Community Christmas Tree Coordinator Samantha Perry said.
“Right now plans are for the party to go on,” Perry said. “Any changes in plans would be posted on our website, www.bdtonline.com, in the morning.”
A team of volunteers worked throughout the day Thursday helping to pack the more than 825 red bags full of toys, books, food, treats, toboggans, gloves, toothbrushes and toothpaste and other goodies.
Members of the Bluefield High School Beaver football team were among those helping to pack the red bags for distribution at today’s party. Senior Justin Mariotti, 17, said he enjoys being able to give back to the community.
“I’ve come out here every year since I was a freshman,” Mariotti said. “It’s something we do as a football team to give back to the community. The best part is just knowing what you are doing is making a difference in a kid’s life. Every kid should have a good Christmas, and it’s great to be able to make Christmas special for each kid.”
Mariotti said being able to volunteer his senior year is even more special.
“Being a senior means this is the last time we get to be together with our teammates,” Mariotti said. “It’s good to end our year together by helping out the community.”
Senior Tyler Myers, 18, said volunteering with the Community Christmas Tree allows him to spend time with his teammates before graduation.
“Someone asked if I would like to come down and help out,” Myers said. “I like helping out the kids and giving them a good Christmas. I think there are a lot of gifts the kids will enjoy, and this will give a lot of kids a happy Christmas, which is good to see. Since the season is over, I don’t see these guys too much, and since I’m graduating, I’m trying to make the most of it.”
The Daily Telegraph has sponsored the Community Christmas Tree campaign since 1917. The campaign is also known as the Little Jimmie program, a reference to an iconic drawing that has accompanied the campaign kickoff since its early days.
As in year’s past, today’s plans call for giving each child registered for the program a red bag filled with two toys — selected especially for each individual child — food, treats, a book, toboggan, a pair of gloves, toothbrushes and toothpaste and other goodies.
While the big party is today, contributions to the Community Christmas Tree continued Thursday.
In loving memory of Melissa Freeman Ball from Colonel Claus $100.00
In honor of Jack Ball 31 from Bluefield Beavers 1967 $31.00
Eugenia Hancock $100.00
Today’s total $231.00
Previous total $35,939.00