Retailers got a jump on Halloween costumes and accessories weeks ago in preparation for the night that ghouls, goblins and zombies rule your neighborhood. But did you notice what else got slipped onto store shelves? Christmas!
Many stores have already been making space for holiday items that early-bird shopping consumers will begin investigating and buying.
But as more and more shoppers begin their annual spending spree, we’d like to plant an idea in their heads: Remember the Christmas Bureau.
The Christmas Bureau serves all of Clinton County and has been doing so for more years than most people can remember.
The agency is a local all-volunteer organization whose sole mission is to provide Christmas for low-income families throughout the county, soliciting cash donations, new toys, new children’s clothes, knit goods and used bicycles. Every year, the Christmas Bureau serves over 1,000 families residing in Clinton County.
Most of these items are donated. The rest are purchased using cash contributions.
The Christmas Bureau relies exclusively on local supporters, those businesses, individuals, organizations, co-workers, schools, family groups and service clubs. It’s not funded by any government agency.
Years ago the bureau accepted both new and used non-monetary donations, but switched to only new items years ago, eliminating expensive landfill fees.
Bicycles are the only used things the agency will take. Bob Bryson, their “bike guy,” refurbishes used bicycles, making them look like new. They’ll be given as gifts to the under-privileged.
Although the agency is searching for an empty building — hopefully donated — from which Christmas Bureau volunteers will do the sorting and put gift baskets together, it maintains storage units and can accommodate prospective toys, games and clothing now. The campaign will formally kick off in a week or so, we’re told. You can call Tammy Perrotte Sears at 572-0528 to arrange pickup.
Also, monetary donations are being accepted as well. You can mail them to PO Box 1253, Plattsburgh, NY 12901.
For those who may need some help this holiday season, the application process for receiving gifts is simple. If you need the agency’s services, visit the JCEO Outreach Center in the community in which you reside. In the few areas where is no JCEO presence, contact the Town Hall and folks there will direct you.
The guidelines are: You must have children in the household 16 years of age or under; you must meet certain income criteria and be able to show proof of that income; and you must reassure the agency by affirmation that you won’t be seeking similar help from any other source.
Start the holiday season off right by doing something for someone else.