When the rummage sale was finished on Saturday, Dec. 28, and all the left over items had been packed up for the Goodwill at Ripley, it marked the end of another successful Adopt-A-Family for Christmas Program in Ravenswood. The Jackson Star News and the Jackson County Ministerial Association sponsor this program each year.

According to Sally Carter, coordinator of the program, the true meaning of Christmas is alive and well in Jackson County with all 86 families who were approved for adoption, being taken care of quite well. Two additional families were provided clothing and gifts for children. All the parcels were on their way to their respective families by 9:15 a.m. on Dec. 24, and all the trucks and vehicles had returned to the fire station before 12 noon.

Eleven members make up the Policy Committee and set the rules and regulations by which the program is run. Approximately 20 people serve on the Screening Committee for the Adopt Program, and they meet each week, from the middle of November until the week before Christmas to review and screen the applications of those who have applied. These are people from all walks of life who take time away from their jobs to assist in the program.

The volunteers have been fantastic. They have helped with sorting and sizing of clothing, washing clothes, shopping for gifts and groceries for the families who were not adopted by organizations or churches, wrapping gifts, picking up articles of clothing, and in some cases, furniture, and many other chores that needed to be done. Everyone pitched in and worked until the project was completed.

A special thank you goes out to employees of Premier Bank in Ravenswood who came to the fire station and helped sort food, and wrapped presents for the unadopted families and assisted wherever they were needed. The committee appreciates this contribution by the management, and they were a big help to the program.

Thank you to the many youth and adults who came to the Fire Station on the morning of Dec. 24 to help with the delivery of the parcels to the respective homes. These people donate their time and vehicles to make Christmas better for those less fortunate. They are members of the Silverton Volunteer Fire Department, Ravenswood Volunteer Fire Department, the Ravenswood football team and their coaches, and countless others who have helped with deliveries for many years. Some of these people have helped with deliveries for 20 plus years. Without their continued support the program would not be able to function as well as it does.

When the committee learned that the Reserve Unit from Millwood had been deployed to the Middle East and would not be available to assist with deliveries, a message was put on Facebook announcing this and requesting the need for more pickup trucks and additional persons to assist with deliveries. Once again the community responded with the vehicles and personnel to get the job done. This year we had the most volunteers and vehicles we have ever had. Thank you all so much.

These volunteers are the ones who really make the Adopt Program a success. The community owes them a great debt of gratitude.

Assistance for the program has come in a variety of ways this year: canned food donated by all school children in the Ravenswood area, churches and individuals, and toys and games from the Freedom Riders Motorcycle Group’s annual dinner dance. This group continues to support the Adopt Program year after year with items for the unadopted families, from showing up at headquarters to help box and lift the non-perishable items, to the location of other items for unadopted families, and returning items to storage area before delivery begins.

Thank you to the Jackson County Oral Health Coalition for the donations of toothbrushes for the entire families who are not adopted by groups or churches, Mrs. Helen Thomas who donated 300 pounds of potatoes (a project she and her husband Lee) have provided to the program for several years and so much appreciate their support of the Adopt program for many, many years, to the many churches and organizations that provided cleaning supplies, gloves and hats for children; food and personal care products, the Marine Corps League, Constellium, and the TOPS group for donations of toys, as well as the many people who donated clothing, furniture items, and kitchen appliances to the program.

A very special thank you goes out to Mike Kelly of MAK Repair who donated the use of his box truck (which was full) to transport the left over items to the Goodwill in Ripley.

Financial assistance, in addition to what has been listed in previous articles, anonymously $200, anonymously $500, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Hunter $50, anonymously (food) $100, Premier Bank of Ravenswood $200, Festival of Trees plus decorated Christmas Tree $500, anonymously $250, anonymously $40, anonymously $60, Edward Debalski $100, Beth Sears and Larry Hancock $250, Thomas and Jordan Haines $200, and the Rummage Sale approximately $500.

Thanks also go to First United Methodist Church and Rev. Kenneth Peters, who allow the Screening Committee to use their church for their meetings. Also the Ravenswood Volunteer Fire Department and its Auxiliary for the use of the kitchen area of the station for Adopt Headquarters, and the City of Ravenswood for picking up the cost of the utilities during the weeks they are located at the Fire Department.

Once the deliveries were made there was a tremendous amount of clothing, toys, and household items remaining for the Rummage Sale, which was held on Friday and Saturday following Christmas. Nothing (except furniture) was priced and people gave as much or as little as they like for the items. If they could not afford to pay anything they would take what they needed at no cost. The sale was successful with approximately $500 dollars realized. This money will be available to begin the 2020 Adopt Program.

Mrs. Carter would like to express her heartfelt thanks to each and every one who contributed, in any way, to the program to make Christmas for those less fortunate this year. It is through their generosity that this program has completed its 61st year successfully.