In Nov. 20-26 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
The Russell County Family Resource Centers have again teamed with the Russell County Jaycees and other businesses, churches and civic organizations to conduct a "Holiday Helpline" for needy families at Christmas time with children in Kindergarten through 6th grade.
The helpline, which has been seasonally ongoing for about a decade, is currently underway and can be called through December 8, according to Russell Springs and Salem Family Resource Coordinator Phil Carney.
The numbers to call are 270-866-7850 or 270-343-2056 and will get you either the Russell Springs and Salem Family Resource Center or the Jamestown and Union Chapel Family Resource Center, respectively.
With the sagging economic situation both locally and nationally, the helpline is expected to be even busier this year, according to Janelle Miller with the Russell Springs and Salem Family Resource Center.
"Parents must show that they have custody of the child and must be enrolled in the Russell County school system," Miller said. Parents must also be able to give correct clothing and shoe sizes when they call the centers.
"This year, we are expecting more to call in with all the layoffs," Miller said. "We don't know how far we'll be able to stretch it this year but we'll try to do everything we can."
She said the Jaycees were a very important part of the process as they will be the ones to go out and shop for the items, such as clothing, toys and games.
"Not only the Jaycees, but churches and businesses make it a group effort," she said.
At K-Mart in Russell Springs, some of the names of needy children will be placed on a tree for people to choose and shop for if they like, according to Miller.
"We have been so fortunate for people to have helped us in the past and how much we really appreciate all the care and concern that kids have Christmas," she said. "We've been lucky that we've always filled all the orders that's came in."
She said that in the helplines' first few hours of service, calls from working families and single parents had already came in because of layoffs.
"People are just struggling and are just really having a hard time," she said. "The people out there that are working and are trying to help themselves, you find yourself feeling so bad for them."
Carney said the helpline had evolved from just them and the Jaycees to private individuals, civic organizations and churches who want to get involved in helping out as well by taking a few names and purchasing items for those children.
"With the economy the way it is, we don't know if the ones that have helped out in the past because of their own troubles," Carney said. Although, he said that many had already promised their input, regardless of their situation.
Carney said the helpline coordinated all Christmas time charity for the Family Resource Centers and the Jaycees as the entities have all worked together to make the holidays a success.
Carney said last year the "Holiday Helpline" helped more than 400 needy children in Russell County and has helped thousands over the years. The Jaycees spent around $25,000 last year during the holidays to help needy families, according to Carney.
"The Jaycees still do the brunt of the community work," he said. "They have been so good through the years and we've kind of evolved through them and come up with this idea."
Carney and Miller, along with Jan Brumley and Sherry Coffey at the Jamestown and Union Chapel Family Resource Center, urge all who apply to contact the numbers to ensure that their families, and more specifically, their children, have a Christmas to remember, despite the current recession.