By Andy Diffenderfer
LaFAYETTE, Ga. -- Walker County residents can help others this year by volunteering or donating to several holiday drives.
"Applications are just pouring in" to the Al Millard Stocking Full of Love effort, said coordinator Bruce Coker of the Walker County Sheriff's Department.
The drive provides Christmas gifts for Walker children ages 1 to 14.
Applications for assistance can be picked up at the sheriff's department in LaFayette, the Walker County Department of Family and Children Services in Rock Spring and at the Rossville Police Department.
They should be returned by Monday. Applications can be dropped off at the sheriff's department or mailed, postmarked by Monday.
Donations of money or toys are welcome, Mr. Coker said, and can be brought to the sheriff's office.
Toys and gifts will be handed out at 8 a.m. Dec. 19 at Oakwood Baptist Church in Chickamauga. Volunteers are invited to come help with setup the night before, or distribution.
The Empty Stocking Fund, a United Way agency and all-volunteer effort, will supply food to needy Walker residents over the holidays.
"Last year, we distributed food to 750 families, which translated into 2,107 people," said Empty Stocking Fund treasurer George Gilbert. "It was more last year than before, and we're expecting more this year."
Applications are due Dec. 4 and can be submitted or mailed to Family and Children Services, or the LaFayette Housing Authority.
Donations of food or money are welcome, said Mr. Gilbert, who's also vice president of the Bank of LaFayette.
Food will be distributed Dec. 18, from 9 a.m. to about 12:30 or 1 p.m. at the Walker County Civic Center. Volunteers are invited to help.
The Secret Santa program for foster children is organized by Family and Children Services. Individuals, businesses and civic groups are invited to participate.
Secret Santas are provided a "wish list" for one child. They can buy some or all of the items on the list. Money donations will help Walker foster children and needy families at Christmas and throughout the year.
Despite the cloudy economic climate, "I think we've had a greater response this year," said Debra Parrish of Family and Children Services. "People are giving more, and we're very thankful for it."
Andy Diffenderfer is located in Walker County. Contact him at email@example.com.
HOW TO HELP
* Al Millard Stocking Full of Love
Applications: Pick up at Walker County Sheriff's Department, Family and Children Services or Rossville Police Department.
Donations: Call Bruce Coker, 706-638-1909, ext. 276, or mail to P.O. Box 767, LaFayette, GA 30728
* Empty Stocking Fund
Applications: Call Ruth Bass, LaFayette Housing Authority, 706-638-2733, 300 Oak St., LaFayette, GA 30728.
Or call Walker Department of Family and Children Services, 706-375-0726, P.O. Box 689, Rock Spring, GA 30739
Donations: Mail money to George Gilbert, P.O. Box 1149, LaFayette, GA 30728. Bring food donations to the Bank of LaFayette, 101 W. Patton St.
* Secret Santa
Call Debra Parrish, 706-375-0769 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Secret Santa forms can be faxed to 706-375-0798.