By BRAD KELLAR
Multiple agencies are banding together this holiday season to provide services to families in need.
“We are calling it Hunt County Gives this year, because there are so many people involved in the process,” said Wally Jeffers, executive director of Hunt County Shared Ministries (FISH), one of 21 charities, service organizations and businesses who have combined forces.
Sign-ups for Christmas Food Baskets are scheduled to begin next Monday, and Jeffers said the emphasis this year is on assisting families in need.
“We are providing one basket per address,” Jeffers said. “This is for families who are struggling.”
The goal of the drive is to assist 1,200 families across Hunt County.
The sign-ups will be conducted November 26-30 at Crossroads Mall, 6834 Wesley Street in Greenville, between 9 a.m. and noon November 26- 30 and also from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. November 27 and 29.
Applications will be taken December 3-7 at the FISH headquarters, 2805 King Street.
All families seeking assistance MUST bring photo identification, a current lease agreement and a current utility bill that matches the address on the registration card. Officials are also advising that families can come any day during the two weeks, and not just on November 26.
Along with FISH, Hunt County Gives includes Hands of Compassion, Twelve Overflowing Baskets, Because We Care Food Pantry, First United Methodist Church in Commerce, Aldersgate Church in Greenville, the Salvation Army, the United Way of Hunt County, the Greenville Kiwanis Club, the Knights of Columbus, the Greenville Noon and Daybreak Rotary Clubs, the Altrusa Club, L-3 Mission Integration, Crossroads Mall, Home Depot, GEUS, Brookshire’s in Greenville, Wal-Mart in Greenville, Super One in Greenville and Sav-A-Lot.
“We are coordinating it, but it is something that all these agencies are participating in,” Jeffers said, adding the effort is designed to reach across Hunt County. “This is for anyone who lives in the county.”
Jeffers recommended anyone needing transportation to the sign-ups to contact The Connection public transportation agency at 903-454-1444, giving at least one day advance notice.
Hunt County Gives is also hoping to “Fill The Float” during the City of Greenville Christmas Parade on December 7. Those attending the parade are being asked to bring a bag of canned goods. Volunteers will collect the bags from the crowd and place it on the Hunt County Gives float as it proceeds through the parade.
“Just basically canned vegetables is what we are looking for,” Jeffers said.
Volunteers will man an assembly line on the evenings of December 18-20 on the loading dock behind the GEUS David McCalla Building on Wesley Street, to assemble and fill the hundreds of baskets for needy families. Jeffers said lots of volunteers will be needed.
The baskets will be distributed to pre-registered families on December 22.
Those wanting more information, or who may want to make a donation or volunteer to assist with Hunt County Gives can call 903-455-0545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.