By RICK HAYES
---- — MT. VERNON — A change in the delivery date of the Christmas baskets provided by the Jefferson County Ministerial Association from a weekday to a weekend should boost the number of available volunteers.
Ministerial Association spokesman, the Rev. Gene Tucker, said volunteers are needed for the food basket distribution which will take place on Saturday morning, Dec. 21.
“People interested should report at 7 a.m. at the park to take part in that,” the Rev. Tucker said. “Certainly anybody
that comes will be welcomed. We will not turn away anyone who wants to help.”
Preparation for delivery of the Christmas baskets will actually begin on Friday, Dec. 20 when a group of high school students will begin packing the boxes full of non-perishable items.
“That’s a wonderful thing,” Tucker said. “Those kids come in on Friday, set up an assembly line and off they go.” The non-perishable items will include can goods that is collected from a number of sources. On Saturday, the perishable items — including meat, potatoes, bread, milk and eggs — will be placed in the baskets and delivered to families that signed up to receive them.
Tucker said approximately 690 families will receive Christmas baskets.
“If you figure there is a three-person household, that’s almost 2,000 people. That’s a lot of people to feed,” he said.
The Association has met its fundraising goal for this year, although Tucker reminded residents the group had to use $15,000 in reserve funds to pay for last year’s distribution.
“It would be nice if we could come up with reserve funds for next year. We’re asking people to donate so we can build up our reserves for next year,” he said, adding that collections taken up by churches this calendar year will go toward next year’s fund drive.
“The need is still there and we don’t want people to slack off just because we have met our goal this year,” Tucker said. “Every penny donated is going to people who need to be fed.”
The Jefferson County Ministerial Alliance is not hosting the annual Christmas in the Park this year due to a lack of interest from participating churches. Tucker said he will be chairing a committee that will have meetings early next year to determine if the event will be held during the 2014 holiday season.
“We want to rethink what we’re doing, and possibly revamp it,” Tucker said. “We’ve struggled the last several years to get people involved with it. We may be asking some civic organizations to help us, and possibly offer some secular displays so we have a better offering to the public.”