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Hoping for jolly givers
Sponsors needed for Christmas program
The Place Xmas 3 es
Ruth Baumann, Hands Across Forsyth coordinator, holds a new coat that was donated as part of a Christmas wish list. Sandy Beaver, executive director of The Place of Forsyth County, said staff decided to sponsor the children this year instead of exchanging gifts. - photo by Emily Saunders


* Anyone who would like to sponsor a child for Christmas this year, can call The Place at (770) 887-1098, Ext. 226, or e-mail Sandy Beaver at Sponsors are asked to bring presents to The Place by the end of business Dec. 18.

* Families can apply for assistance from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. today and Saturday at 2550 The Place Circle off Antioch Road in north Forsyth. Parents are asked not to bring their children with them. For more information, call The Place. Parents who are approved will pick up gifts on Dec. 13 and Dec. 19.

Help for the Holidays

The Forsyth County News is compiling a list of local efforts to collect donations of time, money, food, toys and more in the spirit of the season. The list will be periodically updated and appear as a regular feature in the newspaper through Christmas. E-mail your donation drive information to with "Help for the Holidays" in the subject line. Please be sure to include times, dates, places and any other specifics.

Sandy Beaver has one thing on her Christmas list this year: people willing to buy presents for local children in need.

Beaver is the director of The Place of Forsyth, a nonprofit, social service organization. The agency has once again launched Hands Across Forsyth, a holiday assistance program designed to provide Christmas gifts to children who may not otherwise receive anything.

Through the program, The Place was able to help 363 families this year with Thanksgiving dinners.

Beaver said sign-ups for the Christmas program total about 1,100 children, at least 350 of whom lack sponsors. And she expects that number to increase by the Saturday sign-up deadline.

"We know already we've surpassed the number of children signed up than any other year," Beaver said.

The Place is recruiting sponsors willing to adopt a child and spend $100 to $125 on new gifts requested on a wish list filled out by the child's parents. Sponsors may adopt more than one child.

Beaver said most families are asking for clothes.

"A lot of families are really struggling this year," Beaver said. "The stories are heartbreaking. Many of them have told their children it's going to be a bleak Christmas."

Beaver said the need is so great, the program's staff has decided to sponsor children instead of exchanging gifts.

"We don't need this stuff as much as they do, so we've picked some kids and bought things," she said. "The staff really enjoyed being able to do that."

Beaver said members of The Place's board of directors are sponsoring children and companies are also welcome to sign up.

"Some people are sponsoring children as a gift for someone in their family," said Beaver, adding that she has asked her own family to do the same instead of buying her presents.