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Giving beyond gifts

By NEESEY PAYNE

neesey@southwesttimes.com

We hear it all the time. It’s one of life’s golden rules – It’s better to give than to receive.

But what does it mean to give?

For volunteers of the Pulaski County Christmas Store, giving is more than wrapping a gift for a child in  need. It’s an expression of love, hope and reassurance that there are good people in this world who want nothing more than to pour goodness into the lives of others. Christmas made possible for a child in need is merely icing on the cake. It’s the giving beyond gifts that makes it all worthwhile.

“The county has a tremendous need, but also a tremendous heart,” said Sally McCarthy, Pulaski County Christmas Store president. McCarthy said this is the seventh year the Christmas Store has been able to provide Christmas for families in need. “I never dreamed we’d still be going,” she said, but it’s been made possible through a labor of love.

Recently, Pulaski Moose Lodge 2087 presented the Christmas store with a $2,000 check, and the buck literally doesn’t stop there. United Auto Workers Union 2069 donated $500 to the organization, not to mention the countless number of community members, churches, businesses and organizations that have given to the cause.

Heather Freeman, Christmas Store treasurer, has been working with the organization since it began. “I recognized the need and found out there was a way to help, so I got involved,” she said. “It’s an amazing thing that is accomplished every year in terms of the children we help. When it’s all said and done, we do tremendous things for kids in this community.”

For Lee Smith, volunteering his time at the Christmas Store is more than just a worthy cause, but an initiative that is close to his heart. Smith is over Toys for Tots in Pulaski County. He gives because of “the gladness and joy it brings to the season,” he said. Smith expressed with tears in his eyes that volunteering is one of the most rewarding things he’s been able to do.

“We’re all here for the right reason,” said McCarthy.

The Christmas Store will hold its distribution Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 17-19, from 2-6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20, a special distribution will be held for grandparents to shop from 2-4 p.m. Distribution will take place at the Christmas Store’s headquarters in Dublin next to the old Dublin Primary School.

McCarthy said there is still a lot of shopping to do and volunteers are needed. Those who would like to help should visit www.pulaskicountychristmasstore.com or call 553-1309.

Pulaski County Christmas Store volunteers may not get to see the faces of the children they serve, but its through giving of themselves that much is received.