“We’ve still got 114 children with no sponsors,” Hope House director Bud Jones told The Blount Countian Monday.
Sponsors sought are volunteers willing to contribute $100 to $125 to provide clothing necessities to children. Each sponsor receives a shopping list for a single child between the ages of 2-3 months and 18 years. The list details the items of clothing needed (plus a toy or two for younger children). The sponsor may take the list and personally shop the needed items, or may donate money – $125 for teenagers or $100 for younger kids, and the actual shopping will be done by Hope House shopping specialists.
Jones said sponsors may be individuals, families, businesses or church groups. Larger groups may wish to sponsor multiple children. He also said volunteers are needed to help bag the items, or even to act as shoppers by proxy, using donated money provided by the Hope House to fill out the needs list for individual children.
“We’ve got about 400 children and teenagers signed up this year,” Jones said. “It’s the most we’ve ever had in 14 years of doing Christmas for Children.” Asked to put the endeavor in perspective with other Hope House relief projects, Jones said, “This is one of the greatest things we’ve ever done.”
Jones said the list of recipient children is screened either by counselors at schools in the county or by the Department of Human Resources. There is a limit to the number of years a given child can be sponsored, he added.
Speaking of the number of volunteers that get involved in the Christmas effort, Jones said, “Lots of people get out and gather up unused coats and food throughout the community. They just want to do something so they’re a part, so they’re helping, doing something. Others will call us or come by and tell us something like ‘There’s an old couple out here in (wherever) and they both need coats.’ We’ve got a lot of good folks in this county. There’s hundreds of people who volunteer and help us.”