By Echo Menges
Something very special happens in Knox County every Christmas season. People from all over the county and beyond pitch in see that every child and family in need is well provided for and fed on Christmas Day.
Presents for entire families and Christmas dinners are often included, whatever’s needed to give every Knox County child a good Christmas, which has been going on in this community for generations.
“It all started with Bonnie McGlothlin, who was the Welfare Director in Knox County for many, many years. I started in 1966 and she was the director back then. She had a heart and she wanted children to have a merrier Christmas,” said Adopt-A-Child co-organizer Karen Hall.
Over the years Adopt-A-Child co-organizers, Cheryl Hayes, Karen Hall and Charlotte Parrish, have accepted thousands upon thousands of dollars in cash and gift donations for the Adopt-A-Child program and every single cent has gone to help local families on Christmas.
“Some years we have more than others, but somehow it always seems to work out,” said Hayes. “We will take donations up to the very last minute. We never refuse a donation. We have been known to have something come up at the last minute. I’ve been out shopping on Christmas Eve.”
According to Hall, the feeling of giving someone something they need or giving a child something they want for Christmas, who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise, is worth the effort and the spirit of giving to Knox County families is strong. Over the years local service groups, organizations, businesses, churches, individuals, families and student organizations have raised money for the program or adopted a family providing everything from presents under the tree down to the dinner on the table.
“People who once lived here still send money to the county for Adopt-A-Child through the Citizens Bank of Edina. Probably over a thousand people make it possible. One man from Chicago sends money for new winter coats and wants the pockets stuffed with candy so that’s what we do every year. We’ve had farmers come in with little red wagons. We’ve had ladies make Ragged Anne and Andy dolls by hand. The real thing. Oh my goodness, probably 50 or 60 families, about three children each so about 250 people or more are helped every year. It’s simple things, toys and tractors, mostly clothes. Parents seldom ask for anything,” said Hall.
“We had a lady last year who made 20 quilts and donated all of them,” said Hayes. “We haven’t had a lot of donations so far this time. Somehow or other it always comes out okay. The good Lord is watching over us. About every time we think we’re out of money someone shows up with another donation. We’ve never turned anyone away for lack of money.”
People who would like their family to be added to the adoption list are asked to visit the Knox County Health Department or the United Methodist Church in Edina and fill out a form. Forms need to be turned in no later than December 10, 2014.
Donations can be made at the Citizens Bank of Edina to the Adopt-A-Child account, directly to program organizers or by taking a tag from an Angel Tree.
Over the years it has become tradition for various local churches to set up Adopt-A-Child Angel Trees. This year we are excited to have one at The Edina Sentinel office as well. On each Angel Tree special tags are hung with information about someone in need. Citizens may take a tag, shop for the person and put the gift under the tree they took the tag from.
For more information about the Adopt-A-Child program contact Cheryl Hayes at (660)341-6114.
This story was published in the December 3, 2014, edition of The Edina Sentinel.