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Christmas Bureau gearing up for Christmas Happiness Fund sign-ups

By Shavonne Walker
shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Christmas Bureau will soon begin registration for the Christmas Happiness Fund, a program that raises money to help qualifying families receive Christmas gifts.

The Christmas Bureau, which is coordinated by Rowan County United Way, handles the sign-up process to determine if families are eligible to receive assistance. Registration will be at the J.F. Hurley Family YMCA, 828 W. Jake Alexander Blvd.

The dates to sign up are:

• 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Oct. 18.

• 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 19.

• 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Oct. 26.

Applicants should bring the following:

• A driver’s license or other ID.

• A current Medicaid card.

• Birth certificates for children 12 and younger.

• Custody papers, if children live with a guardian.

• A Food and Nutrition verification letter.

• If an ID is expired, a recent lease and utility bill.

• Proof of all income and expenses.

• An unemployment benefits letter.

“It’s a wonderful way to make sure people in the community have a warm Christmas,” said United Way Executive Director Jenny Lee.

She said a previous volunteer said he wasn’t able to make a donation to the Christmas Happiness Fund but this was a way he could help someone else have a great Christmas by volunteering to sign up families for the program.

Lee said volunteers are needed, especially bilingual volunteers.

She said it would be great if no one needed assistance during the holidays, but the reality is there’s “so many low-income families who can benefit from this opportunity.”

Last year’s contributions helped 1,000 children with more than $45,000 raised to be used for gifts. Families receive gift cards for eligible children, and the parents or guardians shop for their children.

Christmas Happiness was started more than 60 years ago by then-Salisbury Post editor Spencer Murphy. Contributions are delivered to the Post, which keeps a tally of donations.

To volunteer for the intake process, contact Rowan County United Way at 704-633-1802. Organizers ask that potential volunteers sign up by Oct. 11.

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