Christmas Card Fund helps students in need

For 26 years, The Commercial’s Christmas Card Fund has been a source of help for students and families in need in Jefferson County’s four school districts, and school officials say the money can make a big difference.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the Christmas Card Fund is distributed to the local school districts, as The Commercial doesn’t keep any of the money for administrative costs.

Karla Johnson, a school counselor at Gandy Elementary in the White Hall School District, said money from the Christmas Card Fund enables school officials to help students and families who are in desperate need. The money is used as a supplement to the school’s angel tree and increases their ability to reach out and offer help.

Money from the fund has been used to buy Christmas gifts for needy students, but it also has paid for necessary clothing and emergency assistance. Johnson said that when students come to school in short pants or sandals in the winter, school officials take notice.

“It’s good to know the money is there when we need it,” Johnson said.

The school, which has students from kindergarten through the fifth grade, also purchases underwear and sweats to keep on hand for the younger students in case of accidents. Last year the school purchased hams for some families.

The families have been especially grateful for the assistance.

“Some parents have told me the gifts they received were the only ones they had,” Johnson said.

As of Thursday afternoon the fund has raised $1,616.

Contributions to the Christmas Card Fund may be made to Pine Bluff Commercial, P.O. Box 6469, Pine Bluff, AR, 71611. You may also bring your donations to The Commercial office, 300 S. Beech St., weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Those who give at least $1 will have their names placed on a Community Christmas Card to be printed in The Commercial before Christmas.