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Christmas for All gears up for holiday

Kimberly Jordan kjordan@lebanondemocrat.com • Updated Nov 22, 2013 at 7:43 PM

Wilson County Christmas for All is gearing up for its annual distribution of toys and food baskets for the county's children and seniors in need.

Director Alan Ricketts said that by Friday the group had received 801 applications. The application process started Oct. 18.

The organization helps anywhere from 2,500-3,500 people each year between toys for children and food baskets for senior citizens.

"Our mission is two-fold, we serve as a clearing house for the applicants, and our first priority is to place the applicant with an angel tree," said Ricketts. "Ideally we would take all the applicants and put them with an organization that sponsors them."

He said several local organizations and businesses have stepped up to help this year.

"[The Eastern Middle Tennessee Association of Realtors] is collecting toys and splitting them between the east and west side of the county. The west end is taken care of by the Mothers Toy Store that Big Brothers hosts each year," said Ricketts.

He said that several area churches, West Elementary, the Lebanon Fire Department and Toys for Tots all contribute with either toys or monetary donations.

"If you drop a toy [with Toys for Tots], it stays in Wilson County," Ricketts said.

He also said that despite the downturn in the economy over the last few years, he has not noticed a dip in generosity.

"[It's] the same trend as I've seen over the last four years," said Ricketts. "Even though the economy has been bad, giving has remained about the same."

He mentioned two local businesses that have offered to help the organization this year.

"Goody's wants us to come out Thanksgiving evening, and they are providing hot chocolate and coffee for us to sell. Walmart is putting out a tractor trailer for toy donations."

The warehouse for Christmas for All will again be located at Westland United Methodist Church in its Family Life Center. The warehouse opens for distribution Dec. 2 and will stop distribution Dec. 14. Call the warehouse at 547-1106 for information or to volunteer.

"We need fresh legs to help us out in the warehouse," Ricketts said. "We need help during the day."

A recent donation from a local club will also make the season a little brighter for many recipients. The Piece Makers club made 491 stockings and donated them to Christmas for All.

Ricketts said applications can be filled out at the Department of Human Services or the Lebanon Housing Authority office. Donations can be directed to P.O. Box 922, Lebanon, TN 37087.

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