Salvation Army, with help, makes Christmas possible
By Becky Barclay
Published in News on December 22, 2013 1:50 AM
Jamequia Thompson, center, carries a box of children's Christmas gifts to her car with help from Salvation Army volunteers Wendy and Dan Boyette of Seven Springs at the old Tractor Supply Co. building on Cashwell Drive on Friday.
Jamesse Edmundson is a parent struggling to support her children. Being a low-income mother doesn't allow her any extras for Christmas.
"But I wanted my children to have Christmas like any other child," she said.
So she went to the Salvation Army and got into its Christmas program.
During distribution day Friday, Ms. Edmundson walked away with a car seat for 16-month-old Timesse and a bicycle for 7-year-old Jamaury, along with some other things.
"I think it's wonderful that other people gave so my kids could have Christmas," she said. "It's a blessing that someone cared enough to help the less fortunate. And I thank God for the Salvation Army; they're a blessing to many people in our community."
The Christmas distribution was held in the old Tractor Supply building on Cashwell this year, and the process was a bit different.
Participants were scheduled in groups and sat down to hear a short
gospel message by the Salvation Army's Lt. Kenny Igleheart.
"I think they were very excited about it," said Lt. Julie Igleheart. "It was totally different for them. We had a few angry parents who didn't want to wait it out. But after they heard what we were trying to do, they decided that they needed to hear it."
When parents left with their presents, they were also given a Bible.
Kenny Igleheart encouraged them all to go home, and on Christmas Day, go to the passage that tells about the birth of Jesus and read it as a family.
Families also received a box of food for their Christmas meal.
Jamequia Thompson went to get something for her sons, 2-year-old Zayden and 4-month-old Kamden.
She had just started a new job and finances were limited this Christmas.
"If not for the Salvation Army, my kids would have only a few clothes on Christmas day, but nothing to play with," she said. "We attend church, so I'm also going to tell my kids the true meaning of Christmas as well."
Ashley Byrd, 26, works part-time, but she and her husband still needed help at Christmas for Julius, 5, and Jalyn, 2.
"We don't make enough to hardly cover our bills, let alone do anything for the kids," Mrs. Byrd said.
She said if not for the Salvation Army, Mrs. Byrd's children would have just what little she and her husband could provide -- which would not be much.
"People who donated this stuff have really big hearts, and the Salvation Army takes time out of their lives to do this for us," Mrs. Byrd said.
These were just a few of the people Salvation Army women's auxiliary president Nancy Satterfield saw Friday at distribution day.
"There were several ladies that came through crying they were so appreciative," she said.
"There was one grandmother who came through and she was taking care of her grandchildren," a teary-eyed Mrs. Satterfield said. "She just said, 'I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't had y'all.' She said, 'You are such a blessing to us.'"
But Mrs. Satterfield considered it a blessing to be able to help, giving all the credit to the community -- individuals, organizations and businesses -- that took angel tree tags and donated money to help 600 needy children this year.
"The angel tree bags that have come in, the majority of them have just been abundantly filled," she said. "The community has been just magnificent this year.
"It's hard work for us, but it is so much fun going through and trying to decide, now this little girl, would she like this doll? Would this outfit be prefect for her? Or, here's some shoes that would go good just for her."
Julie Igleheart said she was amazed by the community's generosity.
"Gold's Gym did an amazing job with one of our angel trees," she said. "Mt. Olive Pickle Co. took 75 angels. And Best and Langston took 60.
"Thanks to the spare toys and clothes from the News-Argus' Empty
Stocking Fund party, we could furnish more clothing for the kids this year. And the paper also took some angel tags.
"We're all doing it for the same reason. It's not my thing; it's not your thing;
it's our thing. And the more we can work together, the better."
She also praised the volunteers who sorted and bagged items for the 600 children and then helped distribute them.
"We are ready to get started on next year's Christmas program," Julie said.