GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. -- The Christmas season isn't too far off, and in Marshall County, a group is working to make sure there are gifts under the tree for nearly 2,000 kids in need. They just need help to get there.
Every December in Guntersville, a warehouse is chock full of toys and gifts lined up in organized rows. Each bag has a name on it. It's all put together by Marshall County Christmas Coalition, a nonprofit organization that makes sure the county's kids in need have a Christmas each year.
"Right now we have 1,803." Marshall County Christmas Coalition director Beth Sprouse is talking about kids who need someone to sponsor them so they'll have gifts under the tree. "We sponsor them out as a family. We have families that have one and some families up to eight."
Right now that's what the organization needs: sponsors for those kids. "You may want a family of two. So what we do is we will give you those children's names, and you will have clothing sizes and you will also have reasonable requests that were made at the time of sign-ups. So it just gives you a few options there," explains Sprouse.
Sponsors will be told where and when to bring back the gifts, and the group will take care of the rest. "We do have some folks that are unable to shop but still want to help families at Christmas, and so we certainly take donations, and those donations are tax-free," Sprouse said.
Each family is thoroughly vetted on multiple levels before they're accepted for help.
It's a daunting task to make sure every child that needs it gets a Christmas each and every year. But the members of the organization have faith in their community. "You know what, it'll happen. The folks from Marshall County are fabulous. We have so many great people who live here and they help make sure this happens," Sprouse said.
Individuals, businesses, civic clubs, and churches can sponsor a child or several children. Sponsors are encouraged to shop for their child or children themselves. If this is not possible the sponsor can send a monetary donation and a Christmas Coalition volunteer will shop for the gifts. Donations may also be made as a gift in honor or memory of someone.
You can call 256-582-9998 or visit the organization's website for more information to apply online.