Want to help?
Those interested in sponsoring a child through the Loving Forsyth Christmas Outreach program should send an email with the number of children they would like to sponsor to LovingForsythChristmasOutreach@gmail.com.
Several more sponsors are needed for an annual Christmas program that helps children whose families can’t afford to provide gifts for the holiday.
Jerry Dupree is again heading up the program, called Loving Forsyth Christmas Outreach.
In previous years, Dupree said, the program has been sponsored through nonprofits such as The Place of Forsyth County, United Way and the Forsyth County Family YMCA.
This year there is no title sponsor, but Dupree said the program remains the same in that it provides Christmas gifts solely to Forsyth County children in need.
“It’s the same program that we’ve done in the past … I’m just working with the schools and anybody in the county that I can to get the needs satisfied,” he said.
The Forsyth County Fire Department is one organization that always helps, Dupree said.
“We are working, as usual, in conjunction with Aerial’s House toy collection by the fire department, so the toys [people] drop off at the fire stations go to this in-county program,” he said.
Through Loving Forsyth Christmas Outreach, sponsors volunteer to receive information about a child, such as their shoe and clothing sizes and a toy “wish list.” They can then go out and shop for that child.
Dupree said the suggested amount to be spent per child is $75 to $100.
“It’s more of a basic needs program this year because we said kids need clothing more than they need anything else,” he said. “So we said a pair of sneakers, a pair of jeans, a shirt or blouse, under garments and socks, and then one age and gender appropriate item from that child’s wish list.”
The Aerial House donations are used to help satisfy needs of any children who go unsponsored and to provide some additional wish list items to those who are sponsored.
Dupree said he worked with schools, churches, businesses and civic groups to find families in need and get them registered.
“In total, we’ll have about 1,700 to 1,800 children that we provide gifts to this year,” he said. “In some years, it’s been as many as 2,500 or 3,000. So this is still a huge number, but it’s not as much as it has been in some years.”
He said some children still need sponsors.
“Right now, we have about 275 children on the list that we don’t have a sponsor for,” he said. “We’re hoping to find sponsors for those children as soon as possible.”
Dupree said anyone interested in becoming a sponsor should email him at LovingForsythChristmasOutreach@gmail.com with their name and contact information, as well as the number of children they would like to sponsor.
He will then send information such as sizes and the child’s wish list. Included will also be contact information for the child’s family, so sponsors can contact them directly to set up a time and location to pick up the gifts.
“That way, it takes me completely out of the process and it’s easier for the families and sponsors,” he said.