Christmas For Others still a go with some changes

by Geoff Fox

Each year, Christmas For Others in need has helped hundreds of Hancock residents in getting their holiday food and toys and clothing for children. This year is going to see a few changes.

For 2020, Christmas For Others will be in a modified mode as organizers look at crowd size for the day of packing and distributing the food at Town Hall.

Debbie Murphy said organizers know there are more options for food through Interfaith Service Coalition, so this year CFO will be focusing on Christmas for the kids.

“We want to make sure that the kids don’t get left out this year,” Murphy said.

Families will still get a $35 clothing certificate for Family Dollar. There will be no used clothing or coats distributed this year.

The toy drive will still take place and those who want to support the effort can contact Murphy to get a name or donate $20 so an order can be made online so the child will still get a toy.

For those donating toys, they will still be dropped of at Town Hall.

Pick up for the toys will be a drive-by pick up at Town Hall on Friday, December 4, with people bringing the toys out in carts, Murphy said.

Even though there have been stimulus checks and a raise in unemployment, Murphy thinks there could be more children this year needing CFO because a lot of people are out of work.

For the adults, there will be $25 gift cards for Food Lion and it will be distributed based on the number of people in the family.

Murphy, who has been heading the CFO effort for almost 30 years, said there will be no in-person registration this year at the Methodist Church, but there folks who are in need can still sign up.

Murphy said she has been contacting previous recipients to make sure they still qualify and see if they still want to be included and CFO will find a way to get everything settled.

She’s also been working with Debbie Cohill at ISC to get names as well.

In the past, CFO has brought a large group of people in to Town Hall to pack the bags of groceries and then a large group when those in need have picked up the groceries.

Cohill said ISC has a core group who work together and can allow for a staggered distribution of groceries compared to the narrow window of CFO.

By staggering the flow of people, Cohill said it can accommodate the same number of people.

Those who would be receiving the groceries would have to call and register to set up a time for a grab-and-go pick up system.

To be eligible, the people must have already signed up or would be signing up for CFO.

While she still has to check with Murphy, Cohill said the distribution of food would be the same day as the toy distribution but by appointment.

The plan right now would have the pick up being at Martha’s House on Main Street with folks turning down Taney Avenue to pick up their groceries, Cohill said.

If someone who could be facing a hard time this Christmas season for the first time due to pandemic, they can reach out to Murphy and she can meet with them.

All Murphy asks is to bring two forms of ID showing they live in the 21750 zip code and a proof of need, such as a pay stub, social security benefits, unemployment or an independence card.

For more information, to sponsor a child, or how to get assistance if needed, contact Debbie Murphy at 301-678-5338.

“If you qualify the program is available for you,” Murphy said. “If you qualify, then you should apply.”