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Adopt-A-Child program helps out for fifth year

By Susan Shinn Turner for the Salisbury Post

Those of us fortunate enough to have warm memories of childhood Christmases past might find it unfathomable to understand that children in Rowan County may have no Christmas at all.

But organizations like Prevent Child Abuse Rowan work to change that every year. The local group is sponsoring its fifth-annual Adopt-a-Child program. Tags for children the agency serves are now available at its offices, 130 Woodson St.

“In 2018, we helped 136 children have a bright Christmas,” says Beth Moore McKeithan, the agency’s executive director. “Many parents said would not have happened had we not been able to help. The only way to describe this outpouring of support each year is truly magical! Every child listed had more than requested, and it was such a blessing last year. Many of the families were not able to afford any holiday gifts, and if not for the generosity of our donors they would have had a very sparse holiday celebration.”

People have already called requesting tags, McKeithan notes. “The excitement has grown and the community support has grown.”

Tags are still being added to the trees, she says. “We have enough to get us going, but families are still calling in requesting help.”

Different gifts trend each year, and this year is no exception, McKeithan says. “With the girls, the unicorn stuff is all the rage.”

With boys, sports equipment and bicycles continue to be favorite requests.

All unwrapped gifts should be returned by Dec. 16. Donations of wrapping paper and tape are also welcome.

This year, the agency is also suggesting other ways to help besides buying gifts. Those include:

• Making monetary donations.
• Preparing baked goods.
• Donating gift cards for food, clothing and $5 gas only cards.
• Donating tickets for movies, bowling, or other activities.

McKeithan says that families have often donated tickets for The Polar Express when they were unable to use them. “Our families who received them would never have had the opportunity otherwise.”

McKeithan and her husband have a son, Graham, who will turn 3 in January. Their second child, a daughter, is also due in January.

“I think it’s good for kids to learn that there are children who may or may not have Christmas,” she says. “A lot of families who help get their own kids involved, and that is so sweet. We have families who tell us, if you get to the end and don’t have enough, let us know.

“This community is amazing.”

But the hardships this year seem tougher than usual, too, McKeithan says. “We’ve had a couple of families who have had their houses burn and lost everything. We want to try to go above and beyond for them.”

Another family’s mom is in ICU.

“It is draining on your staff, because we’re trying to do what is right,” McKeithan says.

For more information about Adopt-A-Child, please call the Terrie Hess House at 704-639-1700.

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