Wilson County Commissioner Jerry McFarland and Possum Town Outreach have joined forces once again with Friendship Christian School to make a merrier Christmas for people in Hancock County.
The group is currently at work filling a tractor trailer truck with things underprivileged Hancock County residents will need for the holiday. Among the things being prepared are carefully measured bags of sugar, brown sugar, rice and yeast along with toys, clothes and furniture.
"The loading is going good," McFarland said. "We're loading food, clothing and other things."
The truck is across the street from Friendship, and McFarland said there is still time for everyone to bring by donations.
"We'll sort them, and put them on the truck," he said.
FCS teacher and coach Greg Armstrong said the students are working to get everything loaded and ready to roll into Hancock County. He said the students have been planning how to serve the people in Hancock County since they were in the county at Thanksgiving, delivering more than 1,000 meals to residents.
"While they were delivering the meals they had the families fill out a survey for Christmas," he said. "We have a list and then we go back to those homes with one of our big football players as Santa on Dec. 20 and deliver some of the presents they requested."
Armstrong also said the Friendship group will again take over the gym at the old Hancock High School and set up the clothes and toy donations in the gym for a Christmas fair. Young residents of Hancock County will receive $1,000 in "Sneedville Bucks" or play money to spend at the fair. That way, they will have an opportunity to give to others at Christmas. They can even have their picture taken with Santa.
"They get to spend $1,000 in Sneedville Bucks at the fair," Armstrong said. "Some of the Friendship students will act as guides for the kids so they get not just toys, but also things they may need like jackets and backpacks. We will also have some adult things for them to buy so they can get presents for their parents."
To help keep gifts a surprise, the fair will also feature a gift-wrapping station.
While the younger crowd is shopping, the fair will have an adult meet and greet upstairs in the gym.
"We will ask them what needs they have, pray with them and have some food," he said.
If that wasn't enough, FCS singers will also visit local assisted living facilities to sing carols for the residents.
Armstrong said the annual trip to aid residents of Hancock County, the poorest county in the state, has proven to be a rewarding experience for Friendship students.
"It's been neat, our kids enjoy it and have so much fun," he said. "It's good for them to serve people who need help."
McFarland said that the outreach effort will be purchasing a truck load of food to distribute in Hancock County.
"We will be buying the food with the cash donated by the people of Wilson County," he said.
Those who would like to help may send checks to Possum Town Outreach, P.O. Box 26, Lebanon, TN, 37088-0026, or call McFarland at 615-330-8474 to arrange to drop off donations. Any cash donations will be used to buy more food and clothes.
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 45 or firstname.lastname@example.org.