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Kernersville Christmas Stocking

Kernersville Christmas Stocking

christmas-stockingFor 28 years, many of Kernersville’s children and families have been able to wake up on Christmas Day to the joys of seeing what is under the Christmas tree and feasting on a special meal, thanks to the generosity of community members, like you, whose donations make the annual Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund possible.
Without those generous donations, children and families who benefit from the Christmas Stocking Fund would not have the joys that many residents have on Christmas Day.
The Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund started over 28 years ago by former Kernersville Moravian Church (KMC) Pastor Truman Dunn, who was very interested in community mission work. With an idea in mind, he sat down with John Owensby (publisher and managing editor of the Kernersville News) and together they came up with the idea for the Christmas Stocking Fund.
The Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund is now co-sponsored by Kernersville Moravian Church and Kernersville News.
According to Vicky Yates, co-chair for the Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund, over 200 families and over 300 children were helped last year.
Yates said organizations such as the Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund are funded solely through the generosity of individuals and local businesses.
“This area of Forsyth County is rated high for folks living in poverty, especially for children, and they are not getting the amount of food they need on a daily basis. This is one way our community can give to families in need at Christmas time,” she said. “The amount of money we receive in donations determines the number of families and children that we are able to help.”
Yates noted that the Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund is completely run by volunteers.
“Every penny we raise goes straight to the families and children,” she remarked. “We take donations all year long and any donation amount is greatly appreciated by us and our participants.”
Yates clarified that while the Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund is run through Kernersville Moravian Church and the Kernersville News, the organization belongs to the community.
“We are just the facilitators, but it is a communitywide effort,” she said.
A unique aspect to the campaign is that only Kernersville residents (in the 27284 zip code) who are in need are eligible to apply. Most are referred to the program by schools familiar with family situations, but other organizations also recommend recipients.
Parents then fill out application forms and go through an interview with the church.
“Families come in and fill out an application and we gather as much information as possible to make sure there is a need and that they meet all of the requirements. We hope we can help all the families that qualify,” she said.
Approved families are invited to the church on a specific day in December to receive a Lowes Foods gift card.
“This allows the parents to provide a special dinner for their Christmas or holiday celebration,” she said.
Yates explained that they also give gift cards to families for children 14 and under from a local merchant.
“Giving them the gift cards allows the parents to feel like they are providing for their families for the holiday and choosing a special gift for their child,” she remarked.
In addition to the Lowes Foods gift cards and gift cards for the children, the families will receive a gift bag.
“We are working with local restaurants to get food coupons for the children,” she said. “If any merchants are interested in helping, they can call Kernersville Moravian Church.”
Yates said they are also looking for other types of donations for the families.
“In past years, we had several organizations that donated books, toys, t-shirts and more for the families,” Yates said. “We are looking for donations like this again this year.”
Yates said the gift bags are being assembled by the church’s Community Outreach Committee and added that none of the monetary funds will be used toward the children’s gift bags.
“These are separate from the funds,” she clarified.
Yates said this year Holy Cross Catholic Church is helping to provide Spanish interpreters during the interview process.
Yates offered a few ideas for anyone interested in helping raise funds.
“Have a bake sale, raffle or yard sale. Anything helps,” she said. “Main Street United Methodist Church is having a free Christmas concert on December 2 at 7 p.m. They will be taking a love offering that will be donated to the Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund.”
Yates noted that Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church held a book sale and plans to donate the money to the organization.
There is no cut off for sending in contributions. Anything donated after the date of distribution will go toward next year’s Christmas Stocking Fund and 100 percent of all money and other items donated to the Christmas Stocking Fund are used for the families.
This year the goal is to raise $50,000. Last year, they raised almost $40,000.
“We cannot do this without the help of the community,” she said. “We appreciate your contribution in allowing us to share Christmas joy with these families and their children.”
Families will be interviewed on Friday, October 28 from 1:30-7:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 29 from 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. in the Kernersville Moravian Church Activity Building – South Cherry Street parking lot.
Contributions can be mailed to Kernersville Moravian Church, c/o Kernersville Christmas Stocking, 504 S. Main St., Kernersville, N.C. 27284 or Kernersville News, c/o Kernersville Christmas Stocking Fund, PO Box 337, Kernersville, N.C. 27285.
Donations can also be dropped off at the Kernersville News, 300 East Mountain St., Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

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