Members of Washington Junior High School Junior Beta Club have been busy collecting books for Jubilee Christmas. The books will be used to help children whose families do not have money to purchase Christmas gifts.
“Parents get to pick out a book to give to their kids,” said Ellie Theine, a member of the club.
As of last week students had collected over 120 new books for area children in need at the junior high alone. “The students have set a goal of 250 books,” said Larry Mattes, sponsor of the Jr. Beta Club. “They get really excited about projects like this.”
In addition to students bringing books to school, the Washington Carnegie Public Library also has a drop off box. The Jr. Beta students also sent letters to all teachers in the county asking that each teacher donate one new book to the project.
“We are taking new and gently used books for ages new born through age 15,” said Hannah Matthews.
While all new and gently used books will be accepted, members of the club said right now, there is a need for chapter books and books for older kids.
“We have a lot of books for younger kids and a lot of picture books,” said Matthews.
Students will be collecting the books through Dec. 2 and can be dropped off at the library or junior high.
In addition to collecting books, Jubilee Christmas trees have been set up at many local businesses including the Times Herald office. The trees are decorated with paper ornaments designating gifts of varying in price from $5 up to $20. The tags are also divided up into gifts for boys and girls in different age ranges. The tags do not specify what kind of gift specifically needs to be purchased but rather the price of the gift. For example, if a $10 girl tag is taken from a tree, a gift in the amount of $10 should be purchased that a female child would like. The tags with envelopes for cash donations are also available.
“Last year 242 families in the Jubilee Christmas program and over 600 children receive gifts selected by their parents,” said Jodi Parsons, one of the event organizers.
Over 20 area churches help collect the donated gift items and 13 church sites step up “stores” where parents and guardians can “shop” for three gifts for their child. Families are sent to a designated church to pick put the presents.
“Parents get to choose what they think their child would like,” said Jeanie Burks, who also helps with the event each year.
A family basket with household supplies, including lip balm, shampoo, toilet paper, laundry soap and more is also given to each participating family. A Bible or other inspirational book is also given to the family.
All books and gifts need to be returned unwrapped with the ornament tag attached by Dec. 2.
For more information on Jubilee Christmas contact Connections at 257-2650.