The hustle of the holidays is well underway at the Pilot Mountain Outreach Center as volunteers prepare to host the 15th annual Christmas project.
This year’s project is scheduled to take place from Dec. 11-15.
The three-part program consists of a counseling session, a two-week supply of food for each family, and a trip for parents to the center’s “toy store.”
According to center Co-Director Karen Caparolie, the program is planned each year to take place at a time when children are out of school for the holidays and don’t have access to school lunches.
“That’s important. It helps to assure there will be food in the home for the entire family,” she said.
While their food is being boxed, parents will be encouraged to visit the center’s Christmas toy store where they will have the opportunity to select toys for each of their children between the ages of 0-12.
While counselors are lined up in advance, volunteers are still needed for the food bank, the toy store and the thrift shop.
In the food pantry, volunteers will be needed to pack food boxes, serve waiting clients at a snack table, restock shelves and carry boxes to vehicles.
Escorts will be needed to then take clients to the toy store, where volunteers will also be needed to restock toy inventories.
“As important as the food is, the counseling and toys are also an important part of this,” Caparolie said. “A lot of these families really need someone to talk with them, someone who’ll listen.”
“And Christmas can come at a time when there just isn’t any extra money for a lot of families. Allowing every child to get a toy can make a difference for them.”
Registration applications for the program are being taken at the center, located at 317 East Highway 52 Bypass. Sign-ups will be taken each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.. Applicants are asked to provide a social security card, picture ID and proof of residence (such as a piece of mail).
Anyone wishing to volunteer during a portion or all of a shift may contact the center at 368-4907. If no one answers, leave name and contact number along with desired time or times to volunteer. Calls will be returned promptly.
“We’re going to have 82 slots available this year,” Caparlie said. “We’ll keep signing people up until all those slots are full.”