BY DAVID FISHER
DRESDEN (November 17) – This holiday season, Sandra Taylor, president of Be The Village, is spearheading an effort to make Christmas a bit brighter for youngsters from across Weakley County, who might not otherwise receive a present on Christmas morning.
With layoffs and store closings brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, more parents than ever are struggling to provide their families with the basic necessities, which makes it difficult to give their children Christmas presents this year.
Taylor conceived the idea of setting up a Christmas Wishing Tree in Dresden, and collecting children’s wishes from all over Weakley County.
She contacted representatives from several local charities and they agreed to join together to co-sponsor a Weakley County Christmas Wishing Tree activity. Participating agencies include: the City of Dresden, Be The Village, Santa’s Helpers, Sacks Thrift Avenue of Greenfield and Hope Outreach. Each of these organizations have added names to cards they placed on the tree.
The event kicked off Tuesday, November 17, at Dresden Farmers Market with a Christmas tree decorating ceremony, sponsored by Be The Village. Approximately 30 people attended the event, plus a busload of volunteers from Hope Outreach.
The Christmas Wishing Tree was decorated with approximately 130 cards. Each card represents an area child who will receive a gift from a local citizen, who selects the child’s card from the tree. The card gives the age and gender of the child and lists a few items the youngster desires for Christmas. The names of the children are not listed, but the gift will go to the child identified by a number on the card.
According to Dresden Community Engagement Director Priscilla Price, the response has been phenomenal.
Within three days, all 130 cards were selected and removed from the tree.
Price says, more cards with the names of needy children have since been added to the Christmas Wishing Tree, but they don’t stay there long before generous citizens remove them from the tree to make the wishes of deserving youngsters come true.
The public is invited to join in the true meaning of Christmas by picking one or more cards off the tree and giving some child a joyful Christmas.
Wishing Tree donors also have the option of choosing the card of an adult in need of clothes or other necessities.
Instructions are on a board adjacent to the tree at the Farmers Market.
The gifts should be unwrapped in a bag with the cards attached to them. Gifts must be returned by December 5, during the drive-through Dresden Farmers Market fill-up from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Gifts may also be dropped off at The Village, located at 216 Pikeview St. in Dresden, on Tuesday, December 1; Thursday, December 3; or Saturday, December 5, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The gifts will be distributed to the children for whom they are intended in time for Christmas.
Taylor, who owns Cuddles & Crayon Daycare, has five children of her own, and works alongside other members of Be The Village. The local, non-profit organization based in Dresden provides clothing, toiletries, baby care items, school supplies and many more things to foster families in the area.
For more information, contact Be The Village by calling 731-225-7646.