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Multiply a thousand smiles by a dozen times, and you would have some idea of the joy a simple task like passing out Christmas gifts to children in need can bring.
With temperatures dipping with the setting sun, two dozen volunteers and organizers of Community Christmas, formerly known as Christmas at Claudia’s, worked steadily for 2 hours Tuesday night, bustling back and forth to bring toys and gifts out to children and their families who drove up to Shelby Industries on Pearce Industrial Road, where the event has been conducted these past two years.
Sheriff’s deputies directed traffic into the plant as cars lined up to receive packages at the front door from volunteers wearing reindeer antlers, elf ears and Santa hats, as volunteers brought out gifts to 980 families in drive-through fashion.
Each family received a gift package consisting of a blanket, socks, gloves, scarf and hat and toiletry and hygienic items, such as toothbrushes, paste and soap, along with a toy.
No one complained about the biting wind that nipped at the volunteers as they brought gift bag after bag out of a bay door at the entrance.
With the presence of a live Nativity scene, a bevy of “elves,” holiday music and a mountain of candy canes, the magic of Christmas and the sense of goodwill made the event a time that Shelby Industries President and CEO Vivek Sarin said he always would remember.
“It is just so unbelievable how much love there is here tonight,” he said. “I just can’t say enough about all our volunteers – this is a true community effort, and we are really glad to be a part of it.”
Becky Brewer, one of the organizers, remarked about how smoothly the gift-giving was proceeding.
“We were able to set it up much better this year; it’s going great,” she said, adding the event was better organized than last year.
The efforts of Steve Price of Shelbyville, along with his son, Steve Price Jr., and David Merchant, who set up a live Nativity, did not go unnoticed by the patrons, some of whom got out to pet Price’s donkey, “Gunner.”
“Wayne [Allen, vice president of Shelby Industries] asked us to do this,” Price said. “He said it’s what it’s all about.”