Donations for The Commercial’s Christmas Card Fund are accepted each year during the holiday season, but the money provided by generous readers continues to help needy students long after the holidays have passed.
Barbara Boyce, special education supervisor in the Dollarway School District, said there are lots of instances throughout the year when money from the fund is used to help students in need.
Boyce told the story of a transfer student was having a hard time interacting in his new school. Dollarway staff members discovered the child was not just being shy — he had a hearing problem. The parents wanted to have his hearing assessed but were unable to pay.
Although it was the beginning of the school year, a staff member remembered the Christmas Card Fund. A hearing assessment, paid for with money provided through the Christmas Card Fund last year, found the 9-year-old completely deaf in one ear with partial hearing loss in the other.
After the assessment, the fund allowed staff to present a hearing aid to the student and his very appreciative parents. The staff was delighted as well.
“Any time we can provide assistance to a student and parents, there’s a joy inside.” Boyce said. “The joy comes from seeing the smiles on their faces.”
Since receiving his hearing aid, Boyce said, the student is friendlier and more interactive.
“He can hear,” she said. “I saw him in the hall the other day, smiling —h e smiles a lot more now.”
Boyce, who said she supports the fund 100 percent, noted that “people may not see the result directly, but the money is being put to good use and the kids are benefiting.”
The Christmas Card Fund is made possible through the generosity of The Commercial’s readers. As of the close of business Friday, this year’s fund stood at $4,000.10.
The money collected through the fund will be divided among the four public school districts in Jefferson County. The Commercial does not retain any of the money to cover administrative costs.
Contributions to the Christmas Card Fund may be made to Pine Bluff Commercial, P.O. Box 6469, Pine Bluff, AR, 71611. Donations can also be brought by The Commercial office, 300 S. Beech St., weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Those who give at least $1 may have their names placed on a Community Christmas Card to be printed in The Commercial before Christmas.