“Every year we do a Christmas party for certain [economically disadvantaged] kids who come in here, and their families,” Family Advocate Erika Cullum said.
Each year the center provides gifts to the families in addition to hosting the party.
“We take donations of toys and whatever people want to give to help out,” Cullum said.
Cullum said The H.O.P.E. Center is also excepting Christmas decorations and other items for the party.
“Toys are our biggest need,” Cullum said. “Anything that anyone wants to give, we could always use it.”
The center gives the presents to the parents behind the scenes so that they can give them out on Christmas day.
Partnerships in the community make the party a special time for the children. One company will be donating pizza, while another will be sending volunteers to decorate the party room.
The H.O.P.E. Center’s Cleveland location will collect gifts for 30 children of varying ages this Christmas. The Athens center will serve about the same amount.
Donations must be new. Violence or war-related toys can not be accepted.
This is the organization’s third year holding the Cleveland Christmas party.
The Deadline for donations is Dec. 10. Those wanting to participate should contact the center at 790-5740. Cullum recommended calling ahead so the center can ensure someone will be in the office.
The H.O.P.E. Center Bradley County location works with the Tennessee Department of Child Services, the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, the Cleveland Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office in criminal investigations of child abuse or when a child is a witness to a violent crime through conducting forensic interviews and offering free counseling services for these children.
The Bradley County location serves 20 to 30 children a month.