By Brittany Woodby
Hundreds of children throughout the county could spend the holidays alone, hungry and forgotten. After two decades of brightening the lives of needy families with toys and food donations, Christmas Love charity is no more.
“I tell you it’s mixed emotions,” founder Lorene Scott said. “I don’t know how to express myself about it.”
A press release from the organization said Scott was unable to continue the charity due to “circumstances beyond her control.”
“We just think it’s come a time for us to give it up,” Scott said. “We do want to express how much it has meant to us through the years.”
Scott had asked Betty Dover, who organizes Hanceville’s Angel Tree charity, to take over Christmas Love’s work. Dover said her group could not manage the amount of work it takes to run Christmas Love.
“We’re not county-wide,” Dover said. “We just do the Angel Tree locally. We don’t have the staff to do all (Scott) did.”
For the last several years, Christmas Love has accepted donated toys and food at the Cullman Civic Center, where they were divided up and distributed to families. Scott said she understood why other groups would have a hard time undertaking the project.
“It was a big thing. They just don’t have the space and all,” she said.
“It amazes me that people have spent so many years dedicated to something like that,” Dover said. “That’s a big project. The Angel Tree is a big project, but we don’t work on it all year around like Christmas Love.”
However, Scott said her biggest concern is that Christmas love does not die with the charity.
“We really hate to give (the organization) up, but we want it to live on,” she said. “If anyone has someone they know in need of a toy, we want them to go ahead and give that person a toy in the spirit of Christmas Love.”
Other local groups are still collecting toys and items to give to needy families for Christmas. The Angel Tree in Hanceville is one way residents can make a local child’s Christmas wish come true.
“The Angel Tree is at City Hall, and that’s where people can pick up the angel names,” Dover said. “The gifts will be taken to the building across from Hanceville Drug.”
The names of “angels” on the Angel tree are submitted by county school counselors and faculties and include information about the child’s gender, age and sizes. Dover said the last day to contribute gifts will be Thursday, Dec. 13.
Other local charities and organizations work with Cullman County’s Department of Human Resources to care for foster children or to sponsor ongoing service families.
“We do get people to sponsor our ongoing service kids and to give them toys,” DHR program supervisor Dan Williams said. He said that while the department is open to accepting donations, the office is not currently set up to take gifts.
“Wal-Mart Distribution does an Angel Tree for us, and a couple of churches do Angel Trees, but we’ve never just had a box to drop toys at,” he said.
Food donations usually handled through Christmas Love will now be managed by Caring for Kids. The food bank will distribute donated foods to needy families over the holidays.
“They had something like 1,000 families last year they gave food and toys to,” food bank director Javon Daniels said. “We average 450 families per month in the food bank as normal.”
Caring for Kids will begin distributing food for the Christmas season Nov. 26 and stop distributing on Dec. 18. Daniels asks families to wait until after Nov. 26 to pick up food. “Everyone will be treated the same way, and everyone will get the same amount of food whether they are the first ones we see or the last ones.”
Scott’s other holiday charity, the Hospice of Cullman County poinsettia program, will be carried on by St. Andrews Methodist Church.
The community has honored Scott by naming her the Grand Marshal of the Cullman County Christmas Parade on Dec. 1.
By Brittany Woodby
- Top News
The Times' Morning Update for Monday, March 10, 2014
Good morning, readers, take a look at what’s happening today in Cullman County:
Residents want ‘humility,’ ‘accountability’ in next school superintendent
Local residents want a humble, accountable and visionary leader to take over as the next superintendent of the Cullman County Board of Education — at least according to a survey that’ll be used to whittle down the five finalists for the position.
Merchants Bank embraces corporate citizen role
Established in 1907, in Hanceville, Merchants Bank is one of the concerned and caring businesses that make Cullman such a special place to live. Because of businesses like this one, and others who make it a point to give back to the community, Cullman can offer services, recreation and educational opportunities that are enjoyed throughout the county.
Gentry leads February fundraising in sheriff’s race
Cullman County Sheriff candidate Matt Gentry outraised incumbent Mike Rainey in February campaign fundraising, however the sitting sheriff still maintains a larger campaign fund.
HPD: Boaz man charged with attempted murder after trying to run over police chief
A Boaz man is in jail on attempted murder charges after Hanceville police said he tried to run over the city’s police chief Friday afternoon.
County park sponsoring Bassmasters Elite Series Pro fisherman Kevin Hawk
Cullman County hopes to reel in more business and tourism at Smith Lake by signing Bassmasters Elite Series professional fisherman Kevin Hawk to a two-year sponsorship, officials announced Friday.
Hanceville woman arrested for two counts of drug distribution
A Hanceville woman was arrested by Cullman Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) agents on Thursday for previously selling meth to undercover officers.
CPD Chief, sheriff, candidates weigh in on gun bill
Candidates for Cullman County Sheriff weighed in on a bill that would let people carry loaded pistols in their vehicles without a concealed carry permit.
Arrests, incidents reports for March 6, 2014
Here is a look at the incidents that were reported to the Cullman City Police Department for Thursday:
Career tech, dual-enrollment scholarship bill passes
Local education officials hope a new dual-enrollment scholarship program created by the Alabama Legislature will help open up career opportunities for more students, by providing assistance to high school students wanting to take technology courses simultaneously at a community college.
- More Top News Headlines
- The Times' Morning Update for Monday, March 10, 2014