Tomorrow people across the country will gather around their beautifully decorated Thanksgiving themed tables to partake in classic Thanksgiving meals including turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and all the fixings. People also will take a moment and realize what they are most thankful for on the day of Thanksgiving. Once Thanksgiving dinner is finished, dishes washed, football watched and naps taken, local residents will begin to focus their attention on the Christmas season. Black Friday shopping is beginning earlier and earlier each year with some stores opening as soon as 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Night this year.
While local residents are taking a moment to be thankful, they may want to think about how they could help others. The season to spread cheer, well wishes and thankfulness is here and some children in the local community are wondering what they should be thankful for and secretly wondering if Santa will be visiting them this year.
The North Clark Outreach Center (NCOC) is hoping to answer that question for local children again this year with their annual Elf Tree. Officials at the NCOC have made the task as easy as possible this year as they have collected all the information for the local elves and placed them on the Elf Tree.
There are 150 needy children from preschool through seniors in high school in the program at the present time. The program relies on information provided from the local schools to which children could benefit from the help of the Elf Tree program.
The program, now in its 15th year, has helped children by having local residents adopt an elf from the Elf Tree. You go pick up an Elf at the Jay C Store in Charlestown or The New Washington State Bank (Charlestown Branch) and then shop for the needs and even a few wants for the elf. The requested articles for each child include a coat, shoes, an outfit, undergarments and pajamas, as well as an item or two on the child’s wish list. The expected cost of helping an elf is approximately $125.
“These kids will more than likely have no Christmas, if the community does not take care of them through the Elf Tree program. And we know they are from our community because they attend our schools,” stated Ruthie Jackson, Director of the NCOC. “Depending on how much of a thrifty shopper you are, a person can take care of a child for even less than $125.”
If you want to help an Elf this Christmas, but do not have the time to shop, Jackson said the NCOC has the answer for you.
“We have generous Santa shoppers who would love to do the shopping for you. Just go to either of the pick up places, pick up an elf, and let them know at the counter you would like to sponsor this elf. They will put the elf and the money in an envelope and we will pick it up,” Jackson added.
Jackson said the NCOC works with other agencies, such as the Angel Tree program, to make sure the children in the Elf Tree program, are not included in other programs.
Once you have completed your shopping for your Elf, the non-wrapped purchases should be returned to the same location you picked up the Elf with the Elf number on the bags. The deadline to return the purchases will be Friday, December 12.
“It seems this year there is going to be a need for a lot of public support. If you are part of a sorority, bunco club, fishing club, Sunday School class, etc., you might consider sponsoring a child as a group. We generate all of our names from the schools, we feel they have a great feel for which children are in need. There is no donation too big or too small,” Jackson concluded.
For more information about the Elf Tree program please contact Ruthie Jackson, Director of the North Clark Outreach Center, at 502-773-7474.