Several Fayette County students will have the opportunity to visit with Santa and receive some assistance this Christmas season thanks to the American Legion Post 25 in Washington C.H.
According to Elaine Stalsworth, Needy Kids Christmas Party chairman, the Christmas party was started by Dr. Pfersick in 1954 to give economically-disadvantaged Fayette County children a “magical Christmas experience.” Cherry Hill Elementary and Miami Trace Elementary can choose up to 150 children from each school to participate.
“The children will arrive at the American Legion Post 25 Banquet Room on (Wednesday) morning,” Stalsworth said recently. “They are fed lunch, see a magic show, see Santa — who is played by Eddie Fisher this year — and pick out one toy (approximate retail value of toy is $20). Santa receives the children in front of the stage in the banquet room and the toys are arranged behind him on the stage. Each child will also receive a hat, pair of gloves, pair of socks and a goody bag with fruit, small toy, candy, and a $1 bill.”
Additionally, the Needy Kids Christmas Fund working with Fayette County Public Health gives $20 vouchers to children through this program. For the Christmas party in 2017, the fund paid for 150 $20 vouchers that were given out to the students with the most need. The students selected were decided by the schools.
According to Stalsworth, the health department makes up the $20 vouchers that can be used for coats, boots, underwear, clothes, shoes, etc. The parents and/or caregivers do not get a receipt for items purchased, The Needy Kids Christmas Fund does. At the end of the time allotted to buy these items, the Needy Kids Christmas Fund receives the receipts and money back that was not used (this is typically $300-$500).
“The Needy Kids Christmas Fund buys the Walmart gift cards and the Fayette County Health Department makes up the vouchers and gives them to both Fayette County elementary schools,” Stalsworth said. “The schools send the vouchers home with the students with a letter explaining it. The parent or caregiver takes the student to Walmart, picks out items to purchase, goes to the cash register and gives the voucher to the cashier. The cashier calls customer service and the customer service person comes with the gift card to use for that purchase. If the amount is over $25 dollars, the child’s parent/caregiver pays the difference. If it is under $25 dollars, the difference stays on the card. So, if the total amount of purchase is $16.50, that is all that is given to that child. If the amount is $25.40, the parent/caregiver pays the 40 cents. The timeframe for the voucher is the date of the Christmas party through December 31.”
In a letter about the Needy Kids Christmas Fund, Stalsworth said she would like to expand the voucher program to all 300 children. Additionally, due to inflation and researching the price of winter coats at Walmart, Stalsworth said she would like to increase the voucher amount to $25, which would be an increase of approximately $3,000 for this program.
For more information contact Stalsworth at (740) 406-8072, and any donations for future Needy Kids Christmas Parties can be made to the Needy Kids Christmas Fund, American Legion Post 25, 1240 US Highway 22 NW, Washington Court House, OH 43160.
The information in this article was provided by Elaine Stalsworth, Needy Kids Christmas Party chairman. Stay with the Record-Herald for coverage of the party in a future edition of the paper and online at www.recordherald.com.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.