Project Merry Christmas donations doing well
Published 3:40 pm Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Dawn Hewitt was the speaker for the Nov. 29 Demopolis Rotary Club meeting. Hewitt is the Director of the Marengo County Department of Human Resources (DHR), and is a vital part of Project Merry Christmas, which she spoke to Rotarians about last week.
After the meeting, she collected dozens of toys from Rotarians to distribute as part of Project Merry Christmas.
Project Merry Christmas began in 1979. It started with $50 a month specifically designed for foster children. It has since grown and now covers people who actually apply. Those people are screened by the agency and income verification is completed on them to see if they meet the guidelines. Hewitt said that DHR has 391 children who have applied, which is 244 families.
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“That’s what we have so far. Our donations have been up this year, and they tend to fluctuate. Some years we have huge toy amounts, other years we have more money amounts, and some years we have more people who adopt children,” Hewitt said.
Last year, Project Merry Christmas raised around $18,447, and already this year, has raised $18,670.
“We’re doing really well with donations so far. The money is for us to go shop for the kids and then it’s for us to provide the vouchers and the families with what they need,” Hewitt said.
Hewitt said the vouchers are to be used for clothes and toys only, and each one can be used for a specific set of children. For example, if a voucher can be used to buy gifts for four children, the person buying the gifts has to buy something for each child. The vouchers are also time stamped because some people have been known to use vouchers from the year before to buy gifts.
Hewitt said DHR is in desperate need of foster homes. Marengo County only has 13 children in foster care right now, which Hewitt said is good because it is a low number.
“You don’t want huge foster care numbers because that means something is wrong. So with those numbers, I think we’re doing great,” Hewitt said.