Christmas starts early for CAO, DVTF

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Today is Nov. 2; there are 52 shopping days left until Christmas.

For parents whose families are suffering financially, those 52 days are ones of uncertainly and perhaps even fear: "Will my child have a Christmas at all?"

Two local agencies are teaming up again to help make the holidays brighter for needy families. The Lawrence County Domestic Violence Task Force and the employees at the main office of the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization will partner again this year in the task force's annual toy drive.

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"The CAO has always helped us in the past and it's so nice to have them partnering with us," Domestic Violence Task Force Director Ruthanne Delong said. "This makes it a real community project. I'm tickled."

Delong said last year, the toy drive provided toys to 352 needy Lawrence County children.

CAO Program Operations Officer/Section 8 Coordinator Elaine Payne said the approximately 40 employees start discussing the toy drive toward the end of summer, and are eager to lend a helping hand.

"We all have big hearts and we realize there are a lot of underprivileged kids," Payne said. "We see every day when we deal with clients

the need in the community and we just want to step up to the plate and help kids in our community."

Some toys and other items have already been donated by the patrons of the Scottown Post Office. Postal workers there began collecting supplies for the shelter earlier this year.

Delong said those in the community who also want to donate toys or make monetary donations may contact the domestic violence task force at 532-7111. Toys will be accepted until Dec. 17 and will be distributed Dec. 20. Toys must be new and should not be wrapped. The emphasis is on babies, toddlers and school-aged children. Families requesting assistance must be referred by their caseworker, counselor, school officials or minister.

Also this year, the domestic violence task force is having its annual Adopt-A-Family program for families who have recently escaped domestic violence.

"These women and children are already traumatized so much, if we can take one worry away from them, that's what we want to do," Delong said. "We don't want them to worry, in addition to everything else, about what kind of Christmas they'll have."

People and organizations wishing to participate are given information about a mother and child or children who are clients of the domestic violence task force, such as clothing sizes and toy preferences. Those adopting a family may also provide food or grocery store gift certificates.

Those wishing to adopt a family for the holidays may also contact the shelter.