The holiday season may not be as bright as some families had hoped. One Statesboro group which helps hundreds each year may not be able to help everyone on its list. The pleas for help are way more than the offers to help. If that doesn't change in the next few days, it could mean a blue Christmas in the 'Boro.
Volunteers for the Christmas in the 'Boro campaign scurry like Santa's elves, sorting donated toys that will go to needy children in Statesboro and Bulloch County. "We realized we way out exceeded our normal average of 175 to 225 families," said the committee's Steve Champion. "This year, it looks like 500 families."
The problem is even more families asked for help but may not get it. That has meant some tough choices for the committee, like helping first-time families ahead of repeaters this year. "Inevitably, there'll be some people you're not able to help and that's not something we like to do," said Champion.
For eight years, Statesboro's Wal-Mart has teamed with local police and sheriff's deputies to collect donations, then buy and deliver toys.
Officers say delivering a stuffed toy or a ball to a child can often change their attitude toward law enforcement and the families they help many times help them when problems develop in their neighborhood.
Daniel Woodcock of Statesboro PD says he and others hope last-minute gifts will help them turn around the season. "It's tough on us," he said, "because we want to help every applicant we can and not seeing us fill these boxes is heartbreaking."
Volunteers say the last thing they want to see is box with any family's name on it go empty for Christmas.
Champion says the average family on their list includes three children and they try to give each one two or three gifts. That adds up quickly. They say they'll work as long as the donations come in, even up to Christmas eve.
If you'd like to make a donation, there are a dozen places in Statesboro you can leave a gift:
Dollar General in Statesboro & Portal
Sea Island Bank
Wal-Mart Distribution Center
Briggs and Stratton