Despite an entire day lost to bad weather, Cecily Rohrs chairman of the Fulton County Christmas Cheer program, said this year’s event went “wonderfully well.
“We served 586 families, with 1,169 children in the families,” she said.
But it wasn’t easy, as Old Man Winter dealt them quite a blow with a snowstorm on Sunday night, Dec. 12.
The snow resulted in school being cancelled on Monday. Not only does Rohrs get a lot of her volunteers from county schools, many of the things that were given away were stored in the schools, which were now out of reach.
Another large group of volunteers is retirees, whom Rohrs said shouldn’t be out if the weather is bad enough to close schools. Some showed up at the Fulton County Fairgrounds Junior Fair Building anyway.
When Tuesday Dec. 14 came, it was organized chaos. Front-end loaders were moving things into the building, while people were sorting.
Volunteers did two days work in one to get ready for the store to open Wednesday, Dec. 15.
The Christmas Cheer store was opened to families in need at 9:30 am, Wednesday, Dec. 15, as planned.
This year, $25,000 was spent on toys.
“But when you divide $25,000 over 1,169 children, we didn’t go overboard,” she said.
It works out to a little over $21 per child.
Families taking part participate in a sort of tradition.
About 5 pm on Tuesday, they begin setting up lawn chairs in line at the junior fair building.
Then they wait overnight in their cars.
The following morning, when the first persons venture out of their cars, they all follow.
“I wish they wouldn’t do that,” Rohrs said.
“You’re going to have nice things. There will be plenty of food to eat, plenty of warm things. You may not have the selection, but there will be plenty.
“But, if this is the best way they can provide for their families, they will wait in line.”
The store remained open through noon, Thursday, Dec. 16.
“By 12:30 pm, the place was swept clean,” she said. –