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Secret Santa campaign looking for help

Kickoff meeting set for Thursday

The Christmas season is the giving season and being part of that spirit can come in packages large and small.

That’s the message that the Young Professionals want to get out as they start this year’s Secret Santa campaign with a kickoff meeting Thursday at the Chamber of Commerce building.

“We are trying to emphasize what needs to be done and ways to help that people might not even be realizing,” Casey Baker, chairman of the campaign, said.

Two years ago the Young Professionals took on providing Christmas for needy children in Lawrence County, a project originally handled by the Department of Job and Family Services.

Last year more than 650 children received winter clothes and toys from the contributions of the community and the work of the Young Professionals. There were 350 sponsors who adopted children for the season and did the shopping; contributions totaling $10,600 in cash went into the effort as well as toys donated to the cause.

However, Baker said there are many ways the community can help out the program.

“Just making a phone call to a local organization that has given in the past,” he said. “Maybe get in touch with the schools. When we get names straight from the schools, we have a filter there. They know who the needy children are. That is less work to have verify that there is a need.”

And Baker would like to see the families of those benefiting joining in the program.

“I would like to see us add a component, something to give the parents something to think about,” he said. “This is the community giving back to the families. How do the families think about how they will give back to the community?”

And that giving can also be in ways large and small.

“Anybody can help out in some ways,” Baker said. “If they are asking for help, think about how they can help. Shoveling snow off the sidewalk. If you are able-bodied, you should be able to do that. Go visit a nursing home to make somebody’s life better.”

The organization also wants to get a jump on holiday shopping, instead of waiting to start on Black Friday. They hope to have the list of children who will benefit from the program finalized by the end of October.

Thursday’s meeting is open to anybody in the community interested in participating in the Secret Santa program, not exclusively members of the Young Professionals. It starts at 6:30 p.m. at the South Point chamber site.

“We appreciate all the help we got last year from so many different places and are really looking forward to working with the community to make this happen this year,” Baker said.