Hawkins' Christmas for the Children needs donations after low turnout for Toy Run

Jeff Bobo • Sep 26, 2018 at 8:45 AM

ROGERSVILLE — The turnout for Saturday’s Christmas for the Children Toy Run was lower than expected, so organizers are hoping additional contributions arrive to ensure all Hawkins County children receive presents in December.

The Of One Accord ministry program serves about 1,000 disadvantaged children every Christmas, and although most of them are “adopted” by churches and other organizations, the ministry itself still serves 200-300 youngsters.

The cost of providing a decent Christmas to each child is between $75 and $100, which puts the ministry’s annual budget for Christmas for the Children right around $20,000.

Approximately 70 bikers and 100 riders participated in Saturday’s Toy Run from Rogersville to Church Hill, and then back to Rogersville via scenic Goshen Valley Road.

The event, which drew more than 500 riders back in its heyday in the mid-2000s, raised $1,650.

There were also 18 cars in the Cruise-In at Rogersville City Park, where the bikers convened for lunch after their ride. Burem Baptist Church and Sagebrush Restaurant provided lunch for the riders.

Asking for contributions

Of One Accord Director Sheldon Livesay noted that the ministry still has a long way to go before it has enough money to meet the demand this year for Christmas for the Children.

It seems like every year the program is facing a deficit at Christmas, yet the Lord still manages to provide enough so that every child is served.

But first you’ve got to ask for help.

“We absolutely need contributions,” Livesay said. “We’re looking at about $20,000 that it’s going to take for the whole thing, and we’ve got $1,650. It’s less than we’ve gotten in past years. But it’s a start.”

Ministry organizes its first Toy Run

Although this was the 18th annual Christmas for the Children Toy Run, it was the first one to be organized by the ministry.

Years ago, the old Wheels of Faith motorcycle club organized the fundraiser, and when that group disbanded, a couple of former members continued organizing the event.

Over the years, one of those members was injured in an accident and unable to carry on, and after 10 years the other decided this year he would like to enjoy the Toy Run and let someone else organize it.

“This was our first year to try to figure out how to get the advertising out and all, and we missed a couple of places that we now know to do,” Livesay said. “The motorcycle guys came up to us Saturday and said, ‘Man, you should have done this, this and this.’ Now we’ve written all that down so we can do that next year.”

Christmas for the Children Director Jennifer Kinsler expressed gratitude to all the riders Saturday as well as the car show participants.

How to sign up a child

Kinsler begins taking applications for children on Oct. 1 at her Rogersville office, which is located in Market Place across the street from the Shepherd’s Center.

Interviews held in Rogersville will be Monday through Thursday from 10a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. People living in the Church Hill area can come to the Emergency Services Food Pantry in the Church Hill Shopping Center either Mondays or Wednesdays from 4-6 p.m.

Parents or guardians who come to register their children for help need to provide four types of information for their family and children: Proof of income; proof of current address; proof of eligible children; and correct sizes of children’s clothes and shoes.

For more information about registering a child for Christmas for the Children, contact Kinsler at (423) 500-1019.

Anyone who wants to contribute to Christmas for the Children can call Of One Accord at (423) 921-8044 or send a donation to: CFTC, PO Box 207, Rogersville, TN 37857.