I’m inspired by all of you who have reached out however you can and in so many ways to the disadvantaged and struggling families this holiday season.
One local group has been helping the families and children of P/S to have a brighter Christmas for almost 10 years. On Dec. 4, the Riff Raff Club presented checks totaling $2,800 to the P/S Food Bank, with $800 designated for the Food Bank’s Christmas Gift Program.
The Pine Public Library was also the recipient of $550 to assist with their many valuable programs and services to the community. In addition, the Justice McNeeley Foundation, a local charity that helps area children with special medical needs, received a $500 donation. These are just some of the individuals and groups that have benefited from the Riff Raff Club’s fund-raising efforts.
The Riff Raff Club is a non-profit organization. Its mission is to have fun and enjoy life while raising funds to assist those in need in P/S and helping families and children during the holidays and all year.
The club was formed in 2003 when founding members, Janet Carter and Red Cockrun, stepped up to help a neighbor. Their effort on behalf of a local construction worker who needed surgery would lead to an outpouring of generosity that would not end there. Full- and part-time residents, locals, and Valley folk with an interest in the area, came forward to help.
Since then, the Riff Raff Club has made a difference in the lives of numerous individuals, families and children within the community. In 2008, the group incorporated and has grown to more than 200 members. The club is currently in process of obtaining its 501C designation so that donors will receive a tax deduction for their charitable contributions.
Their two annual fund-raisers, the Naked Yard Sale and Riff-Raff Rifle Raffle, are highly anticipated events that have received enthusiastic support from the community and allowed the club to raise money for great causes while having a lot of fun.
In addition to providing holiday food baskets and toys for kids, the group created a memorial scholarship fund, donating $1,000 each year to a full-time college or trade school student and P/S School alumni. Their efforts have also led to a successful school assistance program at P/S School.
At the Dec.r 4 check presentation, member Dee Cockrun stressed that none of this would be possible without the community’s support. Dee, Red, Sheila, Annette and the entire membership of the Riff Raff Club extend a heartfelt thanks to the community for supporting the events and bringing a brighter Christmas this year to many P/S families and children.
P/S Food Bank
The P/S Food Bank has been busy preparing to give food to our neighbors in need this Christmas. They also initiated a Christmas Gift Program to ensure that all children, seniors and the disabled will receive a gift at Christmas. The goal is to provide a gift to each child up to 18 years old. They also give a gift to all the senior and disabled recipients of food bank services. These individuals, families and children are our friends and neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet, unable to find work or an inability to work due to health challenges.
The food bank needs separate donations for the Christmas Gift Program because it does not use any of the food donations toward it. Food is their highest priority.
They are honored to be able to give the kids a gift this time of year, which the community has actively supported. Groups like the Riff Raff Club and Arts and Crafts Guild made donations. Residents in the Portals, the family of Karolyn MacLean and Hairlooms Salon collected toys or cash for the program. The Kubiac family collected donations at their Christmas lights display and another resident donated teddy bears from K Jewelers. Edward Jones Financial sponsored a Senior Angel Tree to provide gifts for senior food bank recipients and the Quilt Angels made lap quilts. The food bank thanks everyone for the overwhelming community support through food, gift and toy donations.
Free Christmas Dinner
Enjoy a free and delicious turkey dinner with all the trimmings at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 25. This free meal is open to all at the P/S Community Center Dining Room. If you can’t get out, someone will deliver a hot meal to your door through Meals-on-Wheels. Everyone is invited. For information, call (928) 476-2151.
Reason for the Season
Our traditions give meaning to the season. This Christmas Eve, many families will attend services at local churches to celebrate the Nativity. First Baptist Church of Pine invites residents and visitors to the congregation at 6 p.m. or 7:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 24 for singing of Christmas hymns, a Christmas message and a candlelight singing of “Silent Night.”
When I was growing up, my family would gather around the fireplace on Christmas Eve (often one constructed of cardboard) while my father recited the biblical Christmas story accompanied on his guitar. My brother, sister and I would play the part of the angels, shepherd and wise men for the orphan children who gathered in our Nigerian home. This Christmas Eve, Richard and I will enjoy a real fireplace and Christmas tree. No matter the setting, the story we share on Christmas Eve remains the same, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and goodwill to man.”
Whether you celebrate a traditional Christmas, Hanukkah or a quiet winter day, vegan tofurkey or spiral ham, cardboard or stone fireplace, may you find hope in the timeless Christmas message, be touched by acts of kindness, feel the warmth of happy memories and see the wonder through the eyes of a child. From my house to yours, Merry Christmas!
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