Founded in 1984, Project Christmas in Jackson County is a non-profit volunteer organization whose goal is to provide assistance to less-fortunate households in Jackson County during the Christmas season and at other times of need or emergency.
Project Christmas currently serves about 500 families annually during Christmas time, as well as providing financial assistance and goods and services to victims of household fires and other tragedies throughout the year, as is afforded by the organization.
People may be referred to Project Christmas for a number of reasons: financial need that would otherwise make Christmas bleak for the family, isolation and loneliness combined with a degree of need (elderly individuals are often in this category) or a household that might be on the list because of temporary distress such as accident, illness, fire, unemployment, etc.
Referrals are made by community members, including recipients, to a third party. A committee evaluates each referral on the basis of need and legitimacy. Each referral is kept confidential.
The emphasis of the organization has always been on households with children. Each family is given a gift for each child, a box of food and a voucher that can be exchanged for nutritious food at Jackson County food stores.
Project Christmas is not a governmental agency and does not answer to any government agency. It is exclusively governed by its own board of directors that meet a minimum of four times a year. All of the helpers and directors are strictly volunteers. There are no salaried employees.
It is estimated that approximately 1,000 volunteers are required to make Project Christmas a reality each year. Volunteers work typically for one week during December to make this happen.
The dates and times of the Project Christmas activities have been set:
- Tuesday, Dec. 12 is gift wrapping night at Jackson Electric starting at 6 p.m. (members of the community are needed to do this)
- Thursday, Dec. 14 is food packing night at Jackson Electric starting at 6 p.m. (members of the community are needed to do this)
- Saturday, Dec. 16 is delivery day for recipients starting at 7 a.m. (members of the community are assigned to do this)