The Christmas for All office has been open for weeks at the James E. Ward Agricultural Center and the warehouse officially opened Tuesday and is being coordinated by Andy Brummett with Wilson County Promotions.
Monday night, the organization held its volunteer orientation with around 20 to 30 volunteers taking part. Ricketts said the rain that hit Monday evening probably kept those numbers down.
“They were a little concerned (Monday) night, but I think we’re going to be OK,” he said, referring to the number of volunteers. Anyone who wishes to volunteer can help the organization in a variety of ways. Volunteers are needed to help out in the organization’s office, the warehouse and helping distribute toys to applicants.
With the warehouse open, donations can be brought to the Ward Ag Center office where volunteers fill orders for those who have submitted applications. Ricketts said that before the warehouse opened, the organization stores what is left over from the previous year in a storage unit.
He added that this year, the toys they’ve received so far have been piled in the homes of several volunteers, waiting to be sent to the warehouse.
“We’ve been blessed with donations so far,” Ricketts said. “Children and Christmas kind of strikes a cord with people.”
The organization also takes some monetary donations and purchases toys that fill the orders of applicants. Ricketts said they’re trying to streamline their buying process this year as they have put that responsibility on a few select volunteers.
“We’re trying to be more deliberate in our buying,” Ricketts said. He pointed to the past when sometimes volunteers would buy a lot of items and as it turned out they would need a different item. He said with a small group in charge of buying toys, you eliminate that confusion.
Christmas for All is working in close cooperation with the Angel Tree in Watertown, Big Brothers in Mt. Juliet and the Marine Corps Toys for Tots to bring all four organizations under one roof.
Ricketts said all four will operate out of the same warehouse and so far that cooperation has worked well. He said they’ve received 127 applications from Watertown, which is over half of what they received total last year.
The application window remains open until Friday, Dec. 10, and you can pick up an application at the Department of Human Services in Lebanon or the WB&T branch on the Square in Watertown.
Ricketts said distribution will most likely begin early next week when they can process applications and get the orders ready to go. When an applicant’s order is ready, Christmas for All will call them and they can pick them up or have them delivered.
If you want to volunteer or make a donation, you can call the organization’s office at 547-1106. Ricketts said you can tell them where you’d like to help and they can find something for anyone to do.
Donations are accepted through Dec. 17 when distribution will end and can be brought to the organization’s office at the Ward Ag Center. Ricketts said they do not accept used toys and if you donate toys to please bring them unwrapped.
Staff Writer Patrick Hall may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.