Mission group aims to brighten Christmas for working families

By Samantha Lyles, Staff Writer, slyles@newsandpress.net

As Christmas draws near, many folks are busily planning holiday meals, gathering party supplies and purchasing gifts for loved ones, but one local group hopes you’ll take some time to remember those less fortunate during this season of giving.

Darlington’s Family Mission Center (FMC) is organizing the third annual Working Family Christmas drive, which aims to provide gifts, food and necessities for local families in need. The program is unique in its goal to serve families where one or both parents are employed, yet not earning enough to afford extras like Christmas gifts.

FMC co-founder Tammy Robinson says the program is needed because these families usually fall into a gap where they earn too much to qualify for low-income charities, but are struggling nonetheless.

“There are so many families who are working hard, living modest lifestyles, doing their best to take care of their kids, and then one bad thing can happen and it sets them back. They get behind on bills and are forced to start cutting back. Then when Christmas comes around, they don’t have the funds they need to do anything for their children,” says Robinson. “We just want to bring an extra blessing to them at Christmas time.”

During September, FMC reviewed applications and identified 33 families (with a total of 95 children) for this year’s Working Family Christmas program. Their goal is to provide each family with a $50 grocery store gift card and give each child a coat, shoes, socks and three items from their wish list.

Robinson says that while sponsors are already in place for most needs, there are still ways you can help.

1. Collect toys and stocking stuffers at your workplace. FMC can give you a list of certain items to collect, and these can be dropped off at Out of This World Printing in Darlington.

2. Donate a $50 gift card from a local grocery store. FMC hopes to collect about 40 cards to provide enough food for each family.

3. Stop by First Citizens Bank and make a tax-deductible donation to the Family Mission Center account. FMC is a registered 501c(3) nonprofit organization.

Once all the unwrapped toys and gifts are gathered, registered volunteers and sponsors will meet at the Darlington YMCA to greet parents and give them gifts and personalized stockings for their kids. Parents can use the provided gift-wrapping station to put the finishing touches on their presents, and they’ll choose a gingerbread house or cookie decorating kit, and a free board game to keep the family fun going.

“The goal on that day is to make the families part of the process,” says Robinson. “Many of these parents are so humbled that they’re crying. They’ve never had to ask for help before, so we want to show them a lot of love and support. We want them to know that God gave us our donors, and the donors gave these gifts, and now they can pass on that love to their children.”

To learn more about the Working Family Christmas program or other events sponsored by Family Mission Center, visit them on Facebook or call Tammy Robinson at 843-307-8876.

Author: Rachel Howell

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