"Christmas Is Sharing" is one of Camden County Child Advocacy Council's biggest programs and was started shortly after the group was organized nearly 34 years ago. The program has come a long way since those first years when individuals met in founding member Margaret Scheiter's garage to make up food baskets and wrap up new and used toys and clothing for 50-100 families in need.
Today, CCCAC does not operate "Christmas Is Sharing" by themselves. The Council works with the Laurie Elks, the Kiwanis of the Ozark Coast, Camdenton Rotary; Crown Dental, the Camdenton and Linn Creek Lions Clubs, the VFW Auxiliary, local banks, schools, churches and many other organizations and individuals who adopt. The council coordinates matching those needing to be helped during the Holidays and those wishing to help them.
In 2012, CCCAC coordinated the adoption of 334 families that included 977 children. Of those families, CCCAC provided Christmas for 77 families that were not otherwise adopted as well as helped in providing Christmas for 12 foster child families.
In October, forms are distributed to groups and individuals wishing to adopt families for Christmas. Families needing assistance for Christmas fill out a form they have received from several local agencies or from the CCCAC Thrift Store in Camdenton. The form allows them to list special gift requests and clothing needs for the children in the family to those wishing to adopt. By early November, CCCAC matches up families with those wishing to adopt.
By the first week of December, most of those who have asked to adopt families have gotten the forms of those they are going to help. CCCAC provides Christmas for all of the families that are not adopted earlier and the Thrift Store basement becomes Santa's workshop. Gifts are ready and delivered the week prior to Christmas.
One woman and her husband found a family they adopted a long distance out Tunnel Dam Road in a trailer. Retrieving the gifts and food from the car, the couple headed for the door of the trailer. There were no steps to the door, only a kitchen chair. Climbing onto the chair holding two trash bags full of gifts and a box of food, the woman knocked on the door. When the door opened there was a sheet hanging over the space and no person could be seen. A woman's voice asked, "Can I help you?" and the couple explained that they had food and Christmas gifts for the family. Hands appeared in the opening of the sheet and the delivery was made. As the woman climbed down from the chair she heard a tiny voice say, "May God bless you." They never saw a soul, but they knew that their gifts were appreciated and greatly needed.
CCCAC always has at least one or two unique requests at Christmas that send them scrambling. One year they received a request for the ever popular and hard to find "Tickle Me Elmo" and a Mickey Mouse wristwatch. What made this unusual was that the items were for a 17-year-old young lady who was a foster child. A council members decided to "adopt" the girl. Family members and friends were called upon to help search for the "Tickle Me Elmo" and one was eventually located in Springfield. CCCAC held a Christmas party for the foster children that year and at the party they learned the girl's story. She was abused and depressed when taken into foster care and had made great strides with her new family. She was getting good grades and had found a job. They learned that she had wanted the Elmo because "Elmo" was her nickname. She was excited to receive her Mickey Mouse watch and her "Tickle Me Elmo" at the party. Family Services had "spilled the beans" as to who had adopted her and she hugged and kissed the Child Advocacy member while thanking her profusely.
Page 2 of 2 - Keep the Camden County Child Advocacy Council's "Christmas is Sharing" program close to your heart and you can join in helping to make a child's Christmas wishes come true in 2013.