DHS Christmas Effort Underway

Thursday, November 8, 2018

For more than 30 years the staff of the Clay County Department of Human Services, with the assistance of volunteers, church groups and local businesses, has made the Christmas season brighter for hundreds with their annual holiday project. Recently, the 2018 project officially kicked-off, and families are encouraged to apply.

Continuing the tradition which began in the mid 1980s, DHS county administrator Annette Dutka reports that businesses, churches or individuals may “adopt” a child or family for Christmas.

“When you adopt a family for Christmas it means you will provide Christmas presents for the children, and deliver them to the home,” Dutka explained. “You can get more information, or select the names of children by stopping by the DHS office in Piggott.”

In keeping with the tradition, those willing to adopt a family or child may choose recipients or have them chosen for them.

“They'll be provided with the names, address, ages and sizes of the children and their wish lists for Christmas,” Dutka added. “Each year around 200 children from throughout Clay County receive Christmas packages through the DHS project. Many of these children would not have had a Christmas without the generous donations from the community.”

In the early years of the effort, the DHS garnered volunteer help to deliver the parcels. These days, those giving are asked to make the deliveries, if they can.

“The past few years we've gotten help from the Mohawk football players in making some of the deliveries,” Dutka explained. “For those unable to deliver the items we'll make every effort to help.”

Last year Clay County Sheriff Terry Miller reported there were 38 families who took part in the “Shop With a Cop” program at Corning, which included over 70 kids. There were also six families in the Rector area, which included 14 kids, and 37 kids from 20 different families in the Piggott area. Others were taken care of through local churches and other organizations.

“We encourage those who are able to help out by adopting children for Christmas so that no child has a Christmas without receiving a gift,” Dutka added. “In spite of a slow economy we would like to see that all children that apply and qualify for the project receive Christmas gifts. The hearts of the citizens of Clay County are big so we feel that the help will come through.”

For 2018, Dutka noted the agency will also be working harder to coordinate with local churches and schools, to insure every family possible is helped.

Families wanting to apply must do so by Friday, Nov. 30, and may obtain an application at the DHS office in Piggott or at 1st Choice Healthcare in Corning.

Those wanting additional information may call 870 598-2282 or stop by the DHS office in Piggott at 187 North Second Avenue between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Fridays.

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