Spread the cheer by giving to those in need

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It’s the most wonderful time of year!

There’s eggnog and other holiday goodies, Christmas decorations, songs of Christmas cheer, presents and the hope for just a flake or two of snow. What’s not to love about Christmas?

However, the Christmas season isn’t merry and bright for everyone. The holidays are tough for many in our community.

That’s why the rest of us can do our part to spread a little Christmas cheer to those in need. After all, isn’t Christmas truly about giving rather than receiving?

Although they do not know it, more than 300 children here in Barnwell County depend on the Secret Santa program in order to have presents under the tree. The Rotary Club of Barnwell County sponsors this program every year and relies on kind-hearted volunteers to sponsor children.

All gifts must be turned in by 6 p.m. on December 14 so parents can pick up the presents.

If you would like to sponsor a child, please contact Lisa Firmender at (803) 541-1249, Lynn McEwen at (803) 259-3266, Kim Hatfield at (803) 259-3612 ext. 3111 or Rhonda McElveen at (803) 259-8640.

Christmas can also be tough on women who are trying to get on their feet after leaving abusive relationships.

The Cumbee Center is seeking volunteers to adopt a family for Christmas. You will be given details about each family member, including their age, gender and requests, although names are kept confidential.

In the past, these gifts have been the only ones some clients of the Cumbee Center received. You have a chance to make a positive difference for a family that is trying to start over.

Gifts need to be turned in to the Cumbee Center by Wednesday, Dec. 14. This can be done at the Aiken office (135 Lancaster Street) or Barnwell office (above Barnwell City Hall).

If you are interested in helping, please contact Jessica Coach at (803) 649-0480 or (803) 259-4451.

Generations Unlimited in Barnwell is also looking to help another group of people feel loved and appreciated for Christmas. They are sponsoring their annual Santa’s Senior Shoe Box Project to help local senior citizens, many of whom are shut-ins or have no family nearby.

This program was a success last year, but Generations Unlimited needs volunteers again this year to help the approximately 170 clients they serve daily – 120 are homebound seniors.

Taking a little time and money to fill a shoe box with gifts such as calendars, socks, slippers, scarves, gloves, magazines, books, lotions, soaps and sealed candy can make a big difference. All items should be new and unused.

Wrapped shoeboxes are due by Friday, Dec. 16. They can be dropped off at Generations Unlimited (10915 Ellenton Street, Barnwell) between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday or at Gail Reyes Senior Center from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For questions or to find out how to help, contact Generations Unlimited at (803) 541-1249.

Whether you help one or all of the above causes, we hope you will take the opportunity to give to someone and spread a little Christmas hope.

To give a gift that helps all year, visit a Giving Tree at the Barnwell, Blackville, and Williston libraries until Jan. 3. For a contribution of $20, a book plate will be placed in a book selected from the titles on the Giving Trees. Honor or commemorate a loved one while providing new books for children and teenagers to check out. Acknowledgement cards are available to give to the honoree or family.

Food is always needed at Axis 1’s food pantry. It is donated out almost faster than it comes in. Remember to give them a donation to help a hungry family or drop by some non-perishable items.

The Barnwell County United Way is another organization that helps support so many other organizations in our community. A dollar to them goes a long, long way.

When deciding upon donations, give to local, recognized organizations first. Seek out a charity that needs your support. Be cautious of groups that may approach you. Get more information on a particular charity by visiting the SC Secretary of State’s Office at www.sos.sc.gov to search on a particular charity or by calling 1-888-CHARITI (242-7484).

Then, spread the cheer.