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Open house, open hearts at Pulaski County Christmas Store

By SHANNON WATKINS

shannon@southwesttimes.com

 

How exactly does Santa’s workshop get things done? The Pulaski County Christmas Store helped citizens get an idea on Monday night.

The store celebrated their Open House in Dublin, where all were welcome to come take a look at their operations, ask questions about how the Christmas Store works, enjoy refreshments, take a tour of the gift rooms and make donations of gifts or funds. Local radio station 107.1 WPSK’s Scott Stevens was on hand, live broadcasting the event dressed as Santa.

The event was sponsored this year by the Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce. “Every year we try to do something around the Christmas season,” said Chamber Executive Director Peggy White. “Last year we did Christmas cards for soldiers, this year we focused on this.”

“This is a county facility and we lease it to the Christmas Store, a good non-profit organization helping our folks. That’s what we’re interested in doing,” said Assistant County Administrator Robert Hiss, though he was present in his capacity as president of the Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s so nice to have the rooms spread out,” said Christmas Store Board of Directors President Sally McCarthy of their current facility. “It doesn’t look like much to some people, but it’s our palace.”

The Christmas Store, which is run entirely by volunteers, is a nonprofit endeavor whose goal is bringing Christmas to needy Pulaski County families. The Christmas Store holds annual intake sessions in September and October to assess applicants’ needs. As the holidays draw near, they allow parents to come in and pick out presents for their families. They also offer Grandparent’s Day for seniors to find something for their grandkids.

The Christmas Store also recently had a spaghetti dinner and silent auction fundraiser, which netted them $1,600 from sponsors and $4,000 overall. It also received a donation of $1,700 from the town of Pulaski’s E.P. and Pauline Bunts Memorial Fund, which was set up to buy Christmas presents for the children of Pulaski, delivered by the mayor after being OK’d by the mayor and two reverends in the town.

Pulaski Rotary Club Member Jerry Haynes, taking a tour with his wife, Judy, said he’d known Montgomery County had a Christmas Store, but as far as Pulaski County went, “I didn’t realize we actually had one here until Sally came to our meeting.”

“Judy and I both, we just really love Christmas,” he continued. “One time we had a charity in which we supported an orphanage in Constanza, Romania.  I sold my tickets for the Virginia Tech game, either the UVA or the Miami game, and that paid for Christmas for over a hundred orphans. The last couple of years we’ve been looking around the area for things we can do. We have two or three activities, because we like knowing how all the money’s being spent, and we really think the local program is very conscientious, and they do make every dollar count. That’s very important to me. I’m a financial planner and so I like to know the money’s being spent wisely, and I really think this is a program that does that.”

To find out more about the Pulaski County Christmas Store, get involved, or make a donation, go to  www.pulaskicountychristmasstore.com or call 540-553-1309.