The young lady seated across the table from Deloris French in the Herb Sims Youth Center provided information, she obviously felt compelled to explain why she had come to the Community Christmas Tree on Friday afternoon to sign her children up for the Dec. 21, Little Jimmie Party.
“It’s been really hard this year,” she said, still holding her head high and smiling. “My husband works at a company that provides machinery for the mining industry. He got laid off in June. Maybe since they started calling some of the coal miners back, he’ll be able to go back to work at the first of the year.”
French, a long-time volunteer with the Community Christmas Tree, helped the young lady with her choices of gifts that her children would be happy to see on Christmas.
“Take your time,” French said.
The volunteers signed up an additional 164 children on Friday, and will be back signing up more children today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. That brings the total to date to 549 children.
“It’s been horrible this year,” French said. “The need has been horrible. Tonya (Simmons) asked one little boy what he wanted for Christmas, and he answered that he wanted his family back. His mother and father were going through a divorce.
“I had a woman who said she had been living in a bug-infested trailer with no heat. She got a call when she was signing her children up,” French said. “She turned to a child she had with her and said: ‘We’ll have heat tonight.’ I signed up another lady from Princeton who also split from her husband. She has four kids and they’ve been living in a motel room for a month.”
Michelle Colley, French, Tonya Simmons, Tina Harman, Jamie Parsell and Tammy Watkins were all in place, visiting with families and helping with their requests. “I’ve been doing this for five years,” Watkins said with pride.
Those who would like to contribute to the Community Christmas Tree program can mail donations to: Bluefield Daily Telegraph, c/o Community Christmas Tree, P.O. Box 1599, Bluefield, WV, 24701; or drop them off at the Daily Telegraph office. Checks should be made payable to the Community Christmas Tree Fund.
In loving memory of Margaret M. Brooks by Albert and Lois Sheets.............................$50.00
In memory of James William Francis..........................$100.00
Total to date.........$12,660.00