Across America, there are nearly 2.5 million grandparents raising their grandchildren. Some of those families are right here in Sampson County and this holiday season, many of them are depending upon the generosity of the Family Caregiver Support Program, through the Sampson County Department of Aging, to make this Christmas a great one for their families.
If you don’t already have plans for ringing in the new year, Lesia Henderson and the staff of the Sampson County Department of Aging would like to invite you to attend the third annual Shaggin’ for Santa New Year’s Eve party.
This annual event raises money for the Family Caregiver Support Program which was designed to help grandparents and kinship relatives who are raising their grandchildren and other family members. This year’s event is Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. Admission is charged.
According to Henderson, specialist for the Sampson County Department of Aging’s Family Caregiver Support Program, throughout the year, the program assists these relatives, but the help is of greater need around the holiday season. Henderson said many of these family members often question where they will get food to feed the family, and most especially question where they will get the funds to purchase Christmas presents. That, Henderson said, is where the program comes into play.
“With funds received from Shaggin’ for Santa, we are able to assist grandparents with Christmas,” Henderson said. “This isn’t total support for the family, but it helps.”
The Shaggin’ for Santa event is held yearly to raise funds to help purchase clothes, school supplies, toys and send children to summer camp. Last year’s fundraiser collected $5,500 in proceeds that went directly into the program.
The event is being sponsored by Donnie Lamm of Nissan of Clinton.
Shaggin’ for Santa began 10 years ago as a way to help the grandparents who were raising their grandchildren. Henderson said in the first year, $9,100 was raised. During the second year, $10,500 was raised.
“These funds help grandparents who have been put in hardship situations,” Henderson stressed.
Many of the children who have been placed in the home of a grandparent are there, she pointed out, because the parent(s) may be on drugs, may be abusing the children, the parent(s) may be deceased or simply because the parent(s) no longer wants the children.
“Shaggin’ for Santa extends that hand of help and helps the grandparents with Christmas,” Henderson said. “It’s just something extra we do to help those grandparents who are in need.”
Once the funds from Shaggin’ for Santa have been collected, grandparents provide a wish list to the department. Once the gifts are purchased, they are provided to the families. Any funds not used are put back into the program to help purchase school supplies and send the children to summer camp.
Henderson said this year’s event will feature East Coast Rythem & Blues, Eastline, Robert Stroud, Joey Warren and Ross Kimbro.
The money raised during the annual Shaggin’ for Santa event is used to purchase items for the children who are a part of the support program. In addition to the items purchased at Christmas, such as toys, clothing and toiletries, any funds that remain at the end of the holiday season are used to help send the children to summer camp and purchase school supplies to deliver at the beginning of each school year.
“Shagging for Santa proceeds allow us to help those families that did not get adopted. Fundraising proceeds that are not used for Christmas are used to send grandchildren to summer camp, which provides the grandparents a time of respite.”
For more information about the Family Caregiver Support Program, contact Henderson at 910-592-4653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.