COUDERSPORT – Reflecting on the 2019 Christmas season, Christmas House volunteer Margie Shaffer said this year the donations and support to the ministry were impressive.
“We are amazed at the generosity of the community year after year,” said Shaffer.
Another volunteer, Georgianna Leete, agreed.
“We are grateful for (all) the gifts brought to the Christmas House,” said Leete.
Founded in the 1990s by the late Alyce and Gene Reese, the Christmas House provides gifts and financial assistance to families in Potter County. Nonprofit entity, everything used in and by the Christmas House is donated, Shaffer said, including garbage pickup by SB Disposal.
Preparation for 2019 began immediately after the end of the 2018 Christmas season; over a dozen volunteers worked together to assess what items by age group are needed for the new season, as well as collected donations and wrapped gifts, among other tasks.
Charlene Smith, president, said about 157 Potter County families, with a total of 471 children, from newborn to high school student, received gifts this year through the Christmas House. Each candidate is approved by the October 31 deadline, as long as they do not reside out of the county.
“We’re not turning anyone away, but they have to live in Potter County,” Smith said.
The giveaways in 2019 were offered by a wide variety of organizations and groups, including every church and women’s group in the county, Smith said, as well as the Abate Club, Dollar General, Shop ‘n Save and by people who attended the open house. in mid-November.
The Hooterville Junction Sewing Group donated handmade mittens, hats and pillow cases and students at Oswayo Valley High School donated fleece blankets, a pillow and a delivered. Like every year, many of the donations came from the Virgil Howard Funeral Home Memorial Giving Program.
“They gave a huge amount of freebies,” Leete said.
After all the gifts were wrapped and labeled, Coudy Santa delivered them to Potter County schools, as it does every year. This year, the most popular gifts were for boys ages 8 to 14, such as RC cars, basketballs, soccer balls, and footballs.
“We’ve (also) had a lot of Star Wars this year,” Leete said.
Smith said the Christmas House would not have successful years without the efforts of all volunteers, including Coudy Santa, Leete, Shaffer, Becky Krellner, Judy Mottershead, Kay Heffner, Billie Haskins, Donna Sauers, Deb Taylor, Jane Metzger, Vickie Gooch, Dawn Newton, Connie Kallerson and Jinny Ayers.
“We are (also) grateful for Charlene’s leadership,” said Leete.
Preparations for 2020 have already started. From January 7, the house will be open every two weeks for donations, which are accepted year round. Smith said only new items will be accepted and that appropriate gift items for children ages nine to 12 are especially needed.
The Christmas House is open Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon and can be contacted by dialing 814-274-0825.