Project Merry Christmas underway

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 7, 2007

This year, as it has every year since 1979, the Marengo County Department of Human Resources is gearing up for its annual holiday program, Project Merry Christmas.

According to Marengo DHR Director Jack Marler, the program began as a way to provide toys and gifts for foster children of the department and has expanded over the years to meet the needs of many children and adults at Christmas time.

The main way the department secures funds is by mailing letters to past and potential contributors requesting financial support for the program.

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Mary Sue Henry, Project Merry Christmas Program coordinator, said nearly $25,000 in cash and toy donations was raised last year for the program. She also said, although Project Merry Christmas is primarily a program for children, needy adults in the DHR caseload are also served.

Another contributor to last year&8217;s success according to Henry was the Tombigbee Emergency Medical Services staff, who helped get and distribute toys to the children before Christmas morning.

The way the program works is individuals wishing to participate in the program who have children born between the years 1995 through 2005 must complete an application &8212; which is available at the DHR office in Linden, The Bargain Box in Demopolis, Agee&8217;s in Dixons Mills and Super T in Sweet Water &8212; and return it to the DHR office in Linden by Nov. 31.

Henry said after all the applications are received, the staff at DHR screen the applications and those accepted are either sponsored by local organizations, church groups, businesses or individuals or they will receive a voucher. The amount of the voucher given is based on funds available and the number of children in the family. Participants then take the voucher to participating merchants in the area and exchange vouchers for toys.