ATHENS, Ala. – Each year at the Lincoln-Bridgeforth Park Committee Tree Lighting in Athens, the committee helps families in need celebrate Christmas by providing toys to children from the community and those recommended from the Boys and Girls Club. During the event, there are random drawings so some children receive a bicycle.
In 2017, when the East Limestone Marching Band learned the committee was in need of more presents and bicycles, the band collected gifts and bicycles at a Chick-fil-A toy drive. Band Director Jennifer “Miss Sam” Janzen said the band students are ready to help again.
“This Christmas project teaches the band kids to learn the importance of giving back and supporting their community,” she said.
On Nov. 26 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., the band will host a toy drive at Chick-fil-A in Athens. Those who want to donate can bring toys and bicycles for all ages, but especially toys for older children.
“We are always in need of gifts for those ages 10 to 14, girls and boys,” said Athens City Councilman Frank Travis, who is a member of the park committee. “We want them to get an age appropriate gift.”
The committee provides gifts for 100 to 150 children. The tree lighting will be Dec. 11 at Lincoln-Bridgeforth Park at 5:30 p.m. Volunteers from the committee, City of Athens, Athens Mayor’s Youth Commission and other student groups assist with wrapping gifts prior to the event and serving snacks and distributing gifts at the event.
“You see the true meaning of Christmas at the Tree Lighting,” Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said. “You see how people from various groups can work together to bring a smile to a child’s face. Seeing those smiles is the best Christmas gift we as a city can receive.”
Source: Holly Hollman/City of Athens, Alabama