The Voluntary Action Center will provide warm meals and gifts to thousands of families, children and seniors in Gordon County this Christmas as part of its annual assistance program. Executive Director Stacy Long said the program has been in existence about 30 years and has helped make the holidays brighter for hundreds of thousands of community members in that time.
This year alone, Long expects the Christmas meal box program to feed nearly 2,000 people.
“We have a total of 246 families signed up for meals. In those families, there are 1,073 adults and 699 children. We also have our seniors receiving meal boxes, and there are 100 households signed up through the senior program,” said Long. “That comes out to 137 seniors. They’ll also receive gift items and a $15 gift certificate to the Wholesale Food Outlet for a protein item of their choice.”
A total of 45 children will also take part in the VAC’s Christmas “adoption” program, which provides gifts to local children who otherwise might not receive presents. Parents whose children benefit from the program were asked to apply, show proof of income and complete one of the classes offered by the VAC. Classes covered topics ranging from budget and domestic violence awareness to parenting skills and proper nutrition.
Long said this year’s donation collection process has gone “really smoothly” and noted that sign-ups to adopt children are closed, however, she did identify a couple of items that would be beneficial if donated. Most especially, Long said the VAC could use toys for children ages 10 and older, including teenagers. Purses, handbags, Bath and Body Works items, and hair care items were specifically requested.
“Our program is closed, but people can visit our local Walmart and help out too,” she said. “All the children on their Angel Trees are local and live here in Gordon County.”
Those interested in helping out with the program beyond gifts and donations might consider teaching one of the courses parents must take to participate in the program.
“Family Connection helped us out with classes this year and the library did as well, especially with space, but there is always opportunity for new information to be shared,” she said. “If anyone has knowledge to share, they can help by teaching a class. We’re always looking for people to help with that because the more variety we can offer, the better.”
Planning for courses begins in March and April, Long said. Potential teachers should reach out to Maria Zamora of Gordon County Family Connection at 706-602-5139 to pitch their ideas.
All donations and gift items for this year’s Christmas program must be donated by Friday, Dec. 13. Donations are accepted at the VAC from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day or can be dropped off at Gordon County EMS.
The Voluntary Action Center will be closed from Dec. 20 until Jan. 2 for the holidays.