By Justin Jones, Staff Writer
CNHI News Service
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 —
Continuing on their past success, Helping Hands is leading another campaign to ensure that kids in Stanly County receive a gift this Christmas.
The Helping Hands Coordinators, Faye Hatley and Bobbie Whitley, work closely with the Department of Social Services (DSS), United Way of Stanly County and Stanly Community Christian Ministries for the provision of gifts that could make a memorable Christmas for a boy or girl.
Children may receive a gift in several ways, all of which present opportunities for community involvement.
First, a child can be a part of an Angel Tree, in which a church, group or organization takes several names and purchases gifts to supply what might be clothing or a toy for their sponsored child.
A second way they are included is through adoption, which is available for a business or family when they take a child and their family, and then help them according to their needs.
The final way one can get involved is through the toy store.
The toy store provides gifts to children who were not included in the Angel Tree or adoption list.
With the help of three doctors in the radiology department at Stanly Regional Medical Center, Helping Hands has been able to provide a total of 150 bicycles as a Christmas gift based on their application and need.
Those doctors, Dr. Peter Gusmer, Dr. John Green and Dr. Wade Wilkerson, have all agreed to continue that tradition in 2012.
Applications from the public must be turned in by Dec. 3 if a parent desires for their child to be included in the Helping Hands program.
To qualify to receive a gift, Helping Hands works to ensure that each child has a true need to avoid any abuse of the system.
“It’s needs based,” Whitley said. “The point is for them to have something for Christmas. That’s the whole goal.”
Helping Hands survived a time in the 1990’s when it seemed that the program would have to be shut down.
Barbara Whitley, who had been implementing the program through DSS ensured that the program would continue at a time when funding was low.
It was her efforts of reaching out for sponsorships and more community involvement that saved the program to help make it what it is today.
Helping Hands has proven results with numbers to show its need in the community.
Last year, 737 gifts were given out through the toy store, with 434 children cared for through either the Angel Tree or adoption. Additionally, the 150 bicycles were given away to eclipse over 1,300 children who were supplied with something for Christmas.
“I just love it. I think every child ought to get something,” Whitley said.
“We have always just loved doing this and having a heart to help,” Hatley said of their five years of helping coordinate the effort.
If anyone is seeking to get involved, Hatley and Whitley can easily identify their biggest needs.
“Toys and money. The toys have to be new and unwrapped because we always try to give the kids new (toys),” Whitley said.
And with the way Helping Hands has been providing for the community, boys and girls across the county will have a better Christmas because of the efforts of Hatley, Whitley and the volunteers from the other organizations, both with time and gifts.
“We have just throughly enjoyed it,” Hatley said.
The Helping Hands office can be reached at (704) 984-0675.