By Zachary Hester, Art Director
RAINSVILLE, Ala. — Every year when the Christmas season approaches, we immediately think of the many things we want on our lists. However, for the past three years, after much conviction, a way to help the less fortunate came to the mind of our sports editor, Marla Jones.
With her children grown and out of the house with great jobs, she knew her blessed family would be taken care of. She decided it was time to take care of someone else.
She followed the example set by one Mr. Jerry Clifton, who is in charge of the Rainsville Santa / Santa Dash. She exposed the need for this kind of service in her native area of Sylvania, and thus, Sylvania Santa was born.
Through Sylvania Santa, Marla and her family, along with private donations, were able to meet the needs of families in their community and provide presents and other much needed items to those in need. They met with the parents of the families that they were to provide for and got clothes sizes and general information about what the children wanted and needed.
During 2014, which was the first year of the program, Marla and her family served three families. By the next year, Southern Torch Advertising Executive Amy Thrash, and her husband had asked to join Marla and her family in providing for families in need during the holiday season. Their little program spread across DeKalb County from Collinsville to Ruhama to Ider. During the second year of the program, twenty children and their families were served.
The goal for this year is to provide Christmas gifts and dinner to 25 children and their families. This year’s donations came from Rainsville Community Church, the Sylvania FFA Toy Drive, and several other private individuals. Marla and Amy traveled to Chattanooga earlier this week and came back with receipts at least a mile long that were full of presents for the children. Before Christmas, they will once again go out to shop for even more people, and spread the good news of giving at Christmas time for another year.
“God gave his greatest gift, and we are happy to celebrate that during this time of the year. We hope to be able to provide for even more children next year”, said Marla Jones.