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2013-12-15 at 6:00 PM

Cutting it close

By Matt Vis, tbnewswatch.com
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The Christmas Cheer Fund still has a long ways to go and not a lot of time to get there.

As of Friday, the organization had $62,000, putting them considerably short of their $140,000 goal.

Christmas Cheer chairwoman Joleene Kemp is hopeful a weekend buzz will help elevate them to their goal.

“We’re hoping that the other money will come in and we’ll meet our target,” Kemp said. “Our biggest cost is our turkeys, which are being delivered (Monday) afternoon.”

One area in which the Christmas Cheer campaign is excelling however, is with their non-perishable food donations.

Initiatives such as last week’s event to fill a bus with non-perishable food items have been working.

“We had close to the equivalent of about $40,000 in food and it took us an hour and a half to onload the bus last Saturday night,” Kemp said.

Kemp is the chairperson for the first time since she served from the late 1990s to 2006, and has seen the campaign have to adapt due to higher numbers than in years past.

“We cut our target, made it realistic and are bare bones in terms of how we operate,” she said.

“I think the sheer numbers have increased. We’re looking at close to, if not more than 3,000 children. That’s a lot of children that are living in poverty, and that doesn’t take into account children that are in care or being fostered in any form. These are people with our families.”

She added their goal is to provide one week’s worth of groceries to as many as they possibly can.

The campaign was the CLE Coliseum building packed with all kinds of food items, with more on the way as schools have their totals dropped off early in the week.

Their headquarters was buzzing with activity as plenty of volunteers were hard at work organizing donations and preparing for the last minute blitz.

The campaign will be distributing hampers to families on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Anybody looking to make donations is asked to visit the Coliseum building on Monday between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

NOTE TO READERS: This story corrects an earlier version that inaccurately stated hampers would be distributed on Wednesday and Thursday. The actual days that hampers will be distributed are Tuesday and Wednesday.

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