Brenda Melton, Watson Chapel School District assistant superintendent for instruction, sees The Commercial’s Christmas Card Fund as a valuable support system that can be called upon to aid students in need.
“We divide up the funds between our five schools,” Melton said. “Of course if there is a greater need at one school than the others we will shift the money around. We use the money to buy prescription glasses, clothes and shoes.”
“If a family suffers a burnout and the lose everything in a house fire we will provide them with clothing, shoes and backpacks,” Melton said. “House fires tend to be more frequent in the winter months and we try to make sure the affected students are cared for. When families lose everything we do what we can to help.”
Melton said that when faculty or staff determines a need they go to a school counselor who will then assess the situation and submit a purchase order to the administration before going to purchase the needed items.
“The Christmas Card Fund has been such a benefit to families in the Watson Chapel School District,” Melton said.
For 25 years, the newspaper has sponsored the fundraiser to benefit needy children in Watson Chapel, Pine Bluff, Dollarway and White Hall schools.
The newspaper collects the funds, which are divided among the four area school districts. All the proceeds are given to the schools and no money is kept for administrative costs at The Commercial.
In 2011, the fund raised $8,448.35. People contributing at least $1 by Dec. 19 will have their names printed on a Christmas Card that will be published in the newspaper before Christmas Day.
Donors may send contributions to The Commercial’s Christmas Card Fund, c/o Pine Bluff Commercial, P.O. Box 6469, Pine Bluff, AR, 71611. Donations may also be brought to the office at 300 Beech St., weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
For those submitting a long list with names from classrooms or other organizations, The Commercial asks that the list be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org on the same day the money is turned into the newspaper.