Toys are shown on display Monday prior to the Christmas For Kids distribution. Nearly 200 Trousdale County children received clothes and toys this year, thanks to generous community support.

Submitted to The Vidette

Nearly 200 Trousdale County children will hopefully have a better Christmas season thanks to the efforts of local organizations and volunteers.

On Monday, the annual Christmas For Kids distribution was held at Trousdale County High School. For nearly 40 years, the charitable organization started by Regina White has worked to benefit underprivileged children.

This year amid hard economic times and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the need has been greater than ever and Christmas For Kids had its largest application list in years with 198 children.

Now a joint venture between the Hartsville Rotary Club and the Community Help Center, Christmas For Kids provides each child with a brand new pair of pants, shirt, coat and shoes. Children or their parents are also able to go through and select a number of toys that are donated by the Trousdale County community.

Making Christmas For Kids work each year takes a cooperative effort between many groups in the community. After all, organizing for nearly 200 kids this year is no small effort!

The volunteers who spent Friday morning and afternoon sorting through and packing clothes, and getting the toys ready too, deserve special thanks for their hard work. We had a great turnout this year and got things done pretty smoothly.

The additional volunteers who came Monday to help with the distribution also get a special round of applause. Having to limit the number of people in the building at any one time can be difficult and when you’re trying to get 200 people in and out — well, you can imagine.

Christmas For Kids gives special thanks to Director of Schools Clint Satterfield and TCHS Principal Teresa Dickerson for allowing the program to use the school building again this year. With school access limited because of the pandemic, they could have easily said no. But they graciously opened up the cafeteria for the program’s use.

Christmas For Kids is also grateful to the school system for its assistance in getting the word out about the program. While Trousdale County Schools do not make decisions about who is helped, they do allow applications to be received and picked up at each of the three schools. That makes the process of collecting applications a lot easier.

The shopping is always a spectacle. But volunteers from Hartsville’s Church of the Firstborn have assisted with that for the past few years and it gets smoother every year. This year, Walmart was able to pre-order many items and had them on hand for shopping day. It made the process a lot easier and shopping seemed to take no time at all!

Trousdale County’s EMS and Rescue Squad members come through every year with the annual Cake Walk and Toy Drive to benefit the program. They are incredibly supportive of Christmas For Kids and have been for years. This year, Hartsville Strong also helped organize the Cake Walk, which had its best year ever by raising $4,000. The assistance of these groups means so much. Publix and Kroger made generous donations of funds and baked goods, and a lot of local folks made cookies, cakes, pies and other items to be donated or auctioned off. Special thanks also go out to the Justified Riding Club, which donated $700 at the Cake Walk.

Christmas For Kids is also the beneficiary of a strong group of donors here in Trousdale County that includes individuals, churches and businesses. Having the program regularly costs anywhere from $10,000 to $13,000 annually, and Christmas For Kids is blessed to enjoy such strong community support.

Anyone wishing to donate to Christmas For Kids may do so by contacting the Rotary Club or the Community Help Center, or by donating directly at Citizens Bank here in Hartsville.

“We want to thank everyone who has helped make this year a successful one for Christmas For Kids,” the group said in a statement. “The generous heart of Trousdale County can be seen in everyone who works so hard to help us each year, whether it’s donating time or money. These are hard times for everyone and the incredible support amid this crisis just means that much more. Thank you and may God bless each one of you!”

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