With a new season in bloom, one community group—Christmas for Moore—is already thinking ahead to the holiday season. Its mission of sharing Christmas with its neighbors in need saw a 30 percent increase in 2017 with 438 families served—1,424 individuals. Through the Christmas for Moore program, these families and individuals received a local sponsor, whom supplied gifts of food, clothing, household items and toys to make the season brighter.
Christmas for Moore sponsors, made up of individuals, businesses and churches, helped ensure more joy last year. Readying for his fourth season as a sponsor, Rob Barrett, pharmacist and owner of the Seven Lakes Prescription Shoppe, is making participation in the program a tradition.
“It is refreshing and humbling to be able to give back to the community at Christmastime,” he says. “Our employees get involved as well to donate much-needed items to 10 families each year.”
Also a three-year sponsor in the program, Bill Sahadi, broker/owner of Fore Properties in Southern Pines, first became involved with Christmas for Moore when it was known as The Empty Stocking Fund.
“Politics aside, we live in a county with have and have-nots, and it’s a shame,” he says. “I inherited my mother’s affliction for not being able to enjoy things when I know others are suffering, so at Christmas each year, it becomes more melancholy, because I think of people who don’t have what they need, and that’s why I do this.”
Last year, Sahadi sponsored a young mother and her children by providing a gift certificate that enabled her to buy the items she requested when she attended the Christmas for Moore registration.
“She’s a single mom, and it was heartfelt to have the interaction with her, and it was genuinely appreciated,” he says. “And this way, the kids will have something for Christmas.
“The families are vetted well,” Sahadi adds. “I see it as giving these kids a chance to have a special memory of Christmas. It’s easier for some people to buy a gift card, so the parent or individuals can go purchase the gifts that they need. It makes me feel good, but it is still not enough.”
Another local business owner focused on giving back took the Christmas for Moore sponsorship on as group project with her employees, purchasing, wrapping and delivering gifts to two families in need last year.
“In addition to loving the spirit of the program,” says Karen D. Sullivan, PhD, ABPP, and owner of Pinehurst Neuropsychology, “I appreciate how direct the giving is: no administrative fees and no corporate side of the house taking part of our donations. It was an opportunity to directly support and love people during a special time of the year.”
This interaction with recipients is often what means the most to sponsors.
“When it was time to bring our families their offerings, my Mom and I drove to their homes and spent time in fellowship with these folks,” Sullivan says. “Again, that immediacy and connection is the experience I appreciate the most from giving.”
Being cheerful givers and sponsors, too, are many area churches across the county. Southern Pines United Methodist Church sponsors 25-35 families in need annually through the Christmas for Moore program.
“While Christmas for Moore has a minimum of one new clothing item per person, one household item for an adult or one new educational toy for a child, this congregation, in many instances, will purchase all or most of the requested items,” says Myron Dice, co-chair of the SPUMC Angel Tree Program and member of the Christmas for Moore board of directors. “These families are in need of a hand up and have experienced some of the most challenging of life’s circumstances: no work or limited hours with low wages, no health benefits, poor housing or single mothers who have experienced domestic violence.”
Barrett, Sahadi, Sullivan and Dice all encourage others to take part in this community effort of giving back.
“Christmas for Moore has allowed us to give back to a community that gives so much to us,” Barrett says. “This program enables us to show the grace, generosity and humility that Jesus Christ shows to us.”
To support the Christmas for Moore mission or become a sponsor, call 910-947-4438, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail donations to P.O. Box 3962, Pinehurst, NC 28374.