Blessings abound as holidays approach

by Jo Anne Embleton

CHEROKEE COUNTY – Area residents are looking deep in their hearts this holiday season, and finding ways to share their blessings with others by ensuring no one goes without this season.

A number of programs helping those in need are currently underway, including those sponsored by:

For Love of Nutrition, Rusk. The downtown business is collecting nonperishable food items for Rusk Cares – Good Samaritan food pantry this month, offering a chance for donors to be entered into a $20 store credit drawing. The Good Samaritan, in turn, distributes holiday food baskets to RISD families in need.

And in December, the business will host a “shop and glow” event benefitting Good Samaritan and three other local nonprofits. The event will feature vendors, a photo booth, silent auction and a “rescue runway” with dogs in need of adoption. For more information or to donate, call (903) 245-9877.

Lola’s Little Blessing Box. Located at 209 E. 7th St. in Rusk, the box – set up like a Little Free Library – is stocked with nonperishable foods available to all. Folks also can donate items to ensure people have the makings for a good meal.

People Helping People. Jacksonville’s Super Gallo Mercado launched the food basket program several years ago to help those in need; however, this year, the store will be distributing gift cards that are funded through food sales at the store.

The Clothes Closet & More/People’s Church. The Jacksonville ministry and the local church are again teaming up to offer food baskets on Nov. 20 to preregistered families.

Legacy at Jacksonville project. Jacksonville resident Andrea Grimes is spear-heading a collection benefitting residents of Legacy of Jacksonville senior residential/rehab center. The goal is to create 100 Christmas bags featuring an array of goodies – from toiletries, books, puzzles and socks, to candy, gum, pens and cards – for the residents.

Gateway Community Partners Jacksonville Primary Day Hab will decorate the bags, which come with a signed Christmas card. Donations may be taken to Gateway, weekdays between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., 417 S.E. Loop 456 in Jacksonville by Dec. 13.

Rusk State Hospital. “Through the support of the community, RSH continues to provide excellent service to our patients. This holiday season our patients would love to receive seasonal items such as gloves, toboggans, warm pajamas, socks, zipper robes/housecoats and throw blankets,” said Kimberly McDaniel, RSH official. To donate, contact RSH Community Relations Department at 903-683-7327 to make arrangements for drop off. The deadline for donations is Dec. 17, with items distributed the week of Christmas.