In the 1990s, when Of One Accord began its “Christmas for the Children” program, the goal was to spend an average of about $25 per child for toys and clothes.
As Of One Accord Director Sheldon Livesay said Sunday, $25 doesn’t go as far as it used to, and this year’s goal was to spend at least $50 per child.
More than 1,000 Hawkins County children benefited from the program this year, although most of those were served by a church, business or other organization that took a list of names from Of One Accord, purchased gifts and food and threw a party for their group.
Of On Accord actually bought the toy and clothing gifts for approximately 300 children with a budget of $15,000.
The demand for Christmas food boxes was up this year. Last year Of One Accord gave out about 660 food boxes containing a full Christmas supper including ham, dessert and all the trimmings.
That figure was up well over 700 this year, stretching the organization’s $6,000 food box budget a little tighter than expected.
Although fund raising fell about $2,200 short this year, Livesay said the important thing is that the children and economically disadvantaged families in the program had a much better Christmas than they otherwise would have had.
“The contributors and everyone who played a part in making this happen — I wish they could have seen the faces and smiles of the children when they received their gifts,” Livesay said. “That really would have made their Christmas complete. All we’re able to do is relay to the contributors the thanks from each family that received help. Many of those families came to us later and let us know that without the community’s help there wouldn’t have been much of a Christmas for their children.”
Livesay added, “It gives me a good heartwarming feeling to know that this is a good mission and we and the contributors have enabled those families to enjoy a Christmas that they otherwise wouldn’t have had. We live in one of the best areas of the country in this upper East Tennessee region, and we’ve had an enormous outpouring of love and support for the families and the children.”
Anyone interested in helping Of One Accord replace the $2,200 shortfall taken from its emergency fund is invited to send a tax- deductible contribution to Of One Accord Ministry, “Christmas for the Children”, P.O. Box 207, Rogersville, Tenn., 37857.