By Brianna Stephens
Thanks to the help of its donors and partners, Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) was able to fulfill holiday gifts, hams, and other needs to more than 300 families in Appalachia during its recent Christmas distribution events. Instead of hosting the annual event in-person because of COVID-19, CAP staff and volunteers dressed in Christmas hats, outfits, and accessories to serve families in a drive-thru event.
“I was thrilled we were still able to do a drive-thru service and have fun with our families and kids,” said Patricia Griffith, manager of CAP’s Family Advocacy Program for Floyd, Johnson, and Martin Counties.
Throughout the year CAP receives and collects donations for the Christmas distribution to be able to meet the needs of participants. While participants usually “shop” with staff and choose their gifts from CAP’s Christmas stores made up of the donations received, this year CAP employees and volunteers boxed up items for each family based on their wish lists.
“We enjoyed being able to pick out what went into the boxes and knowing the choices we made were going to make a difference to that family or that child who was getting the gift,” said Carolyn Lindsey, manager of CAP’s Elderly Services Program for Rockcastle, Jackson, and McCreary Counties. “Our donors help make this possible.”
CAP’s staff packed more than 200 Christmas boxes for participants from its Christmas stores, and 93 donors shopped for Appalachian families to help fulfill their wish lists. “Our donors said a highlight of their year is going Christmas shopping for our families,” Griffith said. “They are dedicated to sending gifts and helping families in need in Appalachia.”
Because of the ongoing pandemic, families in Appalachia are facing unemployment, financial hardship, and food insecurity. Through its programs, CAP’s staff have been able to provide comfort and relief to participants through services like Christmas distribution. “We were able to make several families happy and help take the stress off of them,” Lindsey said. “They were very thankful and happy with what they received.”
According to Lindsey, remaining gifts from the Christmas distribution were donated to other local agencies who were hosting Christmas events that served even more Appalachian families in need. “We want to serve as many people in Appalachia as possible with gifts from our donors. During this holiday season, it brings us joy to partner with others in sharing the Christmas spirit with our neighbors,” she said.