Process changing, but Christmas Happiness still meant to help needy

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 24, 2013

In the years since the Christmas Happiness Fund began, the concept has always remained the same — meet the needs of Rowan County children who would not otherwise receive presents during the holidays.
This year is the first time since 1952 the process is changing, though the end result will be the same — helping children.
The fund helps Rowan County families who are in need to buy gifts for their children. Funds are collected at the Salisbury Post and listed in the paper each day. Starting this year, the Salvation Army of Rowan County will distribute the funds.
The program began after then Post editor Spencer Murphy asked the community to give to children in Rowan County. The first year of the program, the community pitched in and raised $1,801 for area children. The Rowan Department of Social Services has always issued vouchers to eligible families who then go on to buy gifts.
In 2012, Social Services notified the Post that the agency would no longer be able to administer Christmas Happiness because of increased demands on staff and the overtime pay it would require. The Salvation Army, led locally by Lt. Josh Morse, agreed to carry on the distribution of vouchers.
This year, families applied with the resurrected Christmas Bureau program instead of Rowan Social Services for Christmas Happiness.
The application process included a number of other agencies that offer Christmas programs. The Bureau acts a centralized way for people to apply for help from multiple agencies.
Applications were taken earlier this year than in the past, following the implementation of the Christmas Bureau program. Morse estimates when it’s time to distribute vouchers to those in need, his agency will issue 1,000 vouchers.
Morse said organizers have gotten some feedback from those who attended the application days. There were four application days held in October at the Hurley Family YMCA.
“It’s been a good transition. We are taking things we learned this year and make it better for the clients,” Morse said.
He said holding the application process early also allowed the other agencies that fall under the Bureau a chance to implement their own programs. In addition to the Salisbury Post’s Christmas Happiness fund, the other programs that are part of the bureau are the Salvation Army of Rowan County’s Angel Tree, Toys for Tots of Rowan County, Project Santa in Denton and The Arc of Rowan’s Operation Santa Claus.
Bring Christmas Happiness contributions to the Salisbury Post, 131 W. Innes St., between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays or mail them to The Salisbury Post Christmas Happiness Fund, P.O. Box 4639, Salisbury, NC 28145-4639.
Make checks payable to the Christmas Happiness Fund and indicate how you wish your donations to be listed. Please write legibly to ensure that donations can be listed accurately.
Contributions so far are:
• AKZO Nobel Surface Chemistry $750
• In loving memory of my husband, John Maloney and my brother Eugene Kelley by Patricia Maloney $25
• Rockwell School class of ’50 Lunch Bunch: Betty Rose Setzer, Martha Arey, Peggy Daniel and Betty Morgan ..$80
• Le Jeudi Book Club $25
• In memory of S.P. Floyd Barger by EUREKA #45 A.A.S.R.M. $100
• In honor of Macy, Grant, Spencer, Clayton, Brady and Branson by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Hellard $200
• The Salisbury Post $1,000

Total $2,180