By CHARLES OWENS
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Volunteers with the Community Christmas Tree are anticipating to sign up hundreds of children today and Saturday for next month’s Little Jimmie party.
Area families can sign up their children for the Community Christmas Tree today from 3 to 6 p.m. at the city auditorium in Bluefield, and again Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., also at the city auditorium.
Parents are asked to bring either their children’s WIC card or CHIP’s (children’s health insurance) card, or the child’s birth certificate.
This year’s Community Christmas Tree party will be held on Friday, Dec. 21, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Bluefield City Auditorium. The Daily Telegraph has sponsored the annual Little Jimmie party since 1917. The campaign provides holiday toys, gifts, books, gloves, toboggans, food and other treats to hundreds of local children in need each year.
Little Jimmie organizers are expecting to serve 750 children this year, according to Community Christmas Tree Coordinator and Daily Telegraph Editor Samantha Perry.
“The weather is supposed to be nice today and Saturday,” Perry said. “We expect to sign up several hundred children during the two-day period. We urge families to take advantage of the nice weather this weekend and get their children signed up now for next month’s party.”
Perry said long-time Community Christmas Tree volunteers Delores French and Michelle Colley will be among those helping with the sign-ups today and Saturday.
The need among area families is expected to be great this year due to the economy and area job losses and lay-offs, Perry said.
“It is our our hope that we can help provide a bright Christmas to as many children in need as possible this holiday season,” Perry said.
As in past years, the Community Christmas Tree campaign will officially kick off on the first Sunday after Thanksgiving with the names of the campaign donors being published on the front page of the newspaper each day, as well as online on http://bdtonline.com.
This year’s campaign goal is $30,000.
After all of the children are signed up, and volunteers determine which toys the children are seeking, a team of volunteer shoppers will be dispatched next month to the Bluefield Kmart to purchase hundreds of toys for the children.
A second weekend of sign-ups will be held on Friday, Nov. 30, from 3 to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., also at the city auditorium in Bluefield.
— Contact Charles Owens at firstname.lastname@example.org