MARTINSBURG – Christmas Cash for Kids entered its 16th season on Friday to help families make Christmas a reality for their children.
âThe program is close to my heart. Sometimes people forget what matters in life, âsaid Becky Linton, regional director of City National Bank. âWhen you give hope and love it makes a difference, and I hope they grow up and remember it. I think when all is said and done, people want to help each other out. .
United Way of the Eastern Panhandle and the Department of Health and Human Resources are once again partnering with City National Bank and West Virginia Radio to raise funds for the Christmas Cash for Kids program.
âI can’t imagine Christmas for many of these kids without it,â said Kathy Bradley, community services manager for DHHR in Berkley, Morgan and Jefferson counties. âWe really look at all of our families. They should be involved in services with the DHHR. We accept a request and if they receive services from another Christmas entity, they are not eligible for Cash for Kids. After taking this request, we make a home visit with every family and every request. We know these children are in dire need.
The fundraising goal for 2021 is $ 25,000 by mid-December to buy gifts for less fortunate children of the Eastern Panhandle.
With the recurring theme of “Every Penny Counts”, the goal of the campaign is to educate the community on how one small change from everyone can make a big difference for many. The program is fully funded by donations and local volunteers.
âChristmas Cash for Kids was founded in December 2006 when the local DHHR Information and Referral Center received numerous phone calls several days before Christmas asking where they could get Christmas help for their children. These families did not need it when other community organizations accepted Christmas requests in September and October. However, massive layoffs or reductions in the number of hours worked created a crisis situation for many families where there was a real possibility that their children would not have Christmas, âthe official statement said. âThat’s when the idea for Christmas Cash for Kids was born. Over the past few years, Christmas Cash for Kids has served a large number of families affected by the opioid crisis in the region, leaving many children dependent on grandparents or other family members who don’t. do not have the income available to deliver Christmas.
Christmas Cash for Kids serves children from birth to 16 years old, providing Christmas gifts to their guardians for Christmas Day. On a designated day in December, guardians will be asked to âshopâ with a designated DHHR case manager at area Walmart stores to find age-appropriate gift items for each family.
The Christmas Cash for Kids program serves Berkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties, but all funds raised in each county will remain with the families who reside there.
The main objective of the program is to provide Christmas gifts to children who otherwise might not receive anything for Christmas.
From now until mid-December, donations will be collected all over the East Panhandle, including local businesses, churches and individuals.
Other initiatives similar to Christmas Cash for Kids have grown out of the success of the program.
âWe provide tax services for the program. Every dollar goes to the community. This year, we are excited about a new idea that has emerged, âsaid Penny Porter, CEO of United Way of the Eastern Panhandle. âUnited Way of the Eastern Panhandle has a Born Learning initiative to promote early childhood education and literacy. We are very happy to be able to provide books for children in addition to gifts. Healthy Smiles has also been able to provide toothbrushes in recent years, and they will be doing it again. “
Bradley said the program served 558 children last year, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.
âAbout 50% of these children are under legal guardianship with their grandparents. This is extremely important because a lot of grandparents are at retirement age on fixed incomes, âBradley said. âOur average age is 8 years old. I cannot say enough wonderful things about the program. Children do not ask to find themselves in the environments and situations in which they find themselves. If we can create a bright spot in life, my life is complete. “
Those interested in participating can visit the United Way of Eastern Panhandle website at www.uwayep.org to donate online, or stop by one of the region’s ROCS stores or branches in the City. National Bank.
Several special events are planned to raise coins and money for the program throughout the next 30-day period, including: November 6, a boot drive at Olive Garden in Martinsburg with City National staff; November 23, a Spirit Party at McDonalds in Berkeley Springs with City National staff; December 6, Jingle Downtown with Main Street Martinsburg; on December 10, a boot drive at the Potomac Marketplace in Ranson with City National staff; December 11, a boot drive at Olive Garden with Martinsburg with the West Virginia Army National Guard; and on December 12, a coin collection at the Airborne Church in Martinsburg.
For more information on these events or how you can get involved, contact Linton at City National Bank at 304-264-4500.