Christmas in Coweta expanding to assist the needy

By W. WINSTON SKINNER
winston@newnan.com
Halloween and Thanksgiving are still weeks away, but Christmas in Coweta is getting under way – making efforts to make sure every child in the county has a memorable Christmas.
Christmas in Coweta is expanding this year – seeking to connect churches and organizations with families who need help at Christmas. The event is done through Bridging the Gap's Newnan headquarters – and is headed by Alison Wallace, executive director of BTG – but is a separate organization.
"This year we are putting out the 'how to apply' form in every school in Coweta," Wallace said. She said the Coweta County Department of Family and Children Services, the local Salvation Army unit "and various churches around the county" are connecting with Christmas in Coweta in an effort "to make sure everyone who is in need and qualifies for assistance has the opportunity to receive help," she added.
"All applications will be filled out online only," Wallace said. "People without a computer can use Goodwill Career Center or their local library."
People wishing to apply should go to btgcommunity.org, click on the “A Christmas in Coweta” link and follow the directions. The deadline to apply is Nov. 11.

To qualify, a family must qualify for one of the following government assistance programs – food stamps, Supplemental Social Security, Medicare or Social Security Disability.

Once applications are completed, they will become part of a database. Wallace said the database system will ensure no one gets overlooked – and will "prevent anyone duplicating an application."

A number of Coweta churches have made a commitment to participate in Christmas in Coweta. Representatives of individual churches have told Wallace their congregation will provide Christmas gifts for "anywhere from 50 to 500 children." She said families will collect the gifts from the sponsoring church.

Approved applicants will receive notification of the time, date and location to pick up Christmas gifts. The presents will be available "no later than Dec. 10," according to Wallace.

"Our goal this year is to reach our community one family at a time," Wallace said.

Wallace expressed confidence that churches will step forward to make Christmas memorable for local children – reflecting on past experiences with similar efforts. "It is a honor to serve with such a committed community," she said. "We pray many lives will be blessed."



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