Project Santa aids 69 families
Silver Valley Civitan Project Santa brought joy to many in the Silver Valley community for a 46th consecutive year.
"The Civitan Creed and the Golden Rule say to ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,’” said Club President Sara Barker. “Project Santa is our opportunity to give to others. It gives children in our community love and joy. There is nothing like getting to see the happiness on the children’s faces when Santa delivers their presents to them.”
Community support included assistance from churches, businesses, students, friends and neighbors. They provided the project with contributions of food, toys, bicycles, monies and their time.
Silver Valley Civitan Project Santa Claus brought those smiles to 69 families with nearly half being served for the first time. Basic needs of food, clothing and toys, at an estimated value of $16,000, were distributed to approximately 360 people.
Nearly 100 households were contacted by the visitation teams to determine if they had needs. Around two dozen families declined assistance this year.
The Santa Brigade gathered with around 30 elves at 8 a.m. Nine teams traversed the rural roads delivering gifts of fruit and personal Christmas greetings to more than 110 residents. Thirteen of these households also received bountiful food boxes. The gifts are a reminder that they are remembered and appreciated. Included were seniors, the widowed and other individuals.
After the early delivery squads returned, the team swelled to 38 elves. It included Ricky Harris, Michael Hussey, Jeremy Leath and Davis Tucker as Santa. Stephanie Jones was dressed as a colorful elf.
The rain held off until almost all deliveries had been made to 136 children in 56 families. Four caravans of vehicles wound their way through the community from 10 a.m. until the final gifts were delivered in early afternoon.
Young faces displayed awe and surprise as each child received several toys and items of new clothing. Appropriate age toys included action figures, baby items, balls, crayons, games, dolls, toy & miniature vehicles, plush animals, carved wooden train sets and other toys. The big prize was the distribution of five bicycles. Among the presents were jackets, fleece tops, jeans, shirts and other items.
More than 150 gently used toys and clothing were donated. The club purchased about 400 new items.
The Jolly Old Elf also delivered brightly wrapped gifts to 21 adults and children with disabilities in the community. In addition, the dozen residents of Kateland and Westanna Family Care were visited by Kris Kringle on Dec. 20 with each of the ladies receiving personal care items.
Three thousand pounds of food was distributed to 39 households. There were around 80 items for each family with a varying assortment of staples.
Food Lion customers provided nearly two-thirds of the food. They purchased and contributed “Hunger Has A Cure” food packages containing five items each. The second annual Jail-A-Thon at the store on Dec.15 had 617 Hunger Has A Cure food boxes contributed. The contributed food boxes were shared with South Davidson Family Resource Center. Cash contributions of $405 at the store were used to purchase supplemental food.
South Davidson Family Resource Center helped the Civitan Club stretch their food dollars for the 16th year. They provided purchases through the Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina, Inc. The club selected 884 pounds of food estimated at a wholesale value of nearly $1,400.
The students of Silver Valley Elementary School collected and contributed 170 food items.
The Civitan Club purchased fruit to make more than 200 bags that were distributed in the three phases of PSC. The assortment included apples, oranges, tangerines, raisins and candy.
More than 60 volunteers provided over 400 hours of service. They included 25 members of the Silver Valley Civitan Club, a dozen South Davidson High School Junior Civitan members as well as family and friends.
The effort began in the middle of November with the compiling of lists, followed by visitation, then gathering and sorting of donated gifts. Around 120 large gift boxes were wrapped. The shopping team included over thirty-three elves. More sorting and the assembly of food boxes and fruit bags were completed on Sunday afternoon, December 23.
Members of the Junior Civitan Club also addressed 200 envelopes for Christmas cards with postage provided by the senior club. The card list included seniors, local people with disabilities as well as eight girls at the Civitan Cottage of Boys’ and Girls’ Homes of N.C. Also receiving cards were around 45 residents of eight group homes including Kateland and Westanna Family Care, The Workshop of Davidson, Inc. and ARC of Davidson County.
The total value of contributed gifts and discounts earned are conservatively estimated at about $12,000. Purchases of more than $4,000 were made by the Silver Valley Civitan Club.
More than $3,000 was raised. Monetary contributions will continue be accepted by checks mailed to the Silver Valley Civitan Club, Inc., c/o Treasurer Leigh Gallimore, 840 Crousetown Road, Lexington NC 27292.
A Christmas angel stepped forward for a sixth consecutive year with a generous contribution. Church contributors included Oak Hill Baptist and Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church of the Tabernacle Charge as well as the United Methodist Church sub-district of South Davidson & Denton Area.
Callan Loflin, Miss Denton 2013, donated 150 books that were distributed to the children. Santa Davis Tucker contributed 100 CDs. More than 30 Barbie dolls were donated by an individual. Irvin Surratt contributed seven carved wooden five-piece train sets. Janice and Roger Gallimore provided their building for Santa Headquarters for a seventh consecutive year.
Each volunteer and donor shared the genuine spirit of Christmas and earned the joy that comes from giving without any expectation of a tangible gift in return.
The overall coordinators for Civitan Project Santa Claus were Brigade Commander Roger Barker and Deputy Commanders Chris Hughes and Joyce Parrish. The Brigade was divided into five teams. Team captains were Joyce Hughes, who chaired list as well as clothing and toys; Tony Pope, visitation; John Hughes, food and fruit; and Peggy Harrison, people with disabilities.
Parrish also served as the Santa manager.
Project Santa began with the 1966 Christmas Eve inspiration of two late Civitan members, Troy Jarrell and Sam Arnold. Jarrell stepped next door about 6:30 p.m. to ask Arnold to accompany a group now known as Denton Project Santa Claus. The late Dr. Ken Gobel, was dressed as the Jolly Old Elf on that cold night.
With snow flurries in the area, Arnold and Jarrell joined the effort without any advance notice and assisted until after 1 a.m. Arnold and Jarrell were shocked by the poor living conditions in their community as they observed gifts being delivered.
The Silver Valley Civitan Club took responsibility for its area in 1967. They worked with the Denton group for about a dozen years before becoming a separate effort.
North Carolina District West Civitan has honored Project Santa Claus as the most outstanding service project seven times. The 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2000, 1997 and 1994 editions received the award from among the 60-plus clubs in the western half of the state.
Civitan International has recognized Project Santa with 19 competitive awards over an 18-year period. Project Santa has earned ten awards in the community service category as well as nine awards in youth service.
Project Santa was selected as the first place outstanding youth service project worldwide for 2001-02 and first place outstanding community service project for 1998-99. Currently there are nearly 900 Civitan Clubs located in 38 nations.
Project Santa is the largest continuous service project of the Silver Valley Civitan Club. The club was chartered 53 years ago in 1959.