While ringing in the new year, residents of Sampson County were able to raise funds to help needy families and seniors through the annual Shaggin’ for Santa event.
In the past, the event was held prior to Christmas, with all the funds raised going towards purchasing Christmas presents for children who are part of the Sampson County Department of Aging’s Family Caregiver Support Program, which was designed to help grandparents and kinship relatives who are raising their grandchildren and other family members.
According to Lesia Henderson, specialist for the department, things were done a little different this year, hosting the event on New Year’s Eve at the Agri-Exposition Center. All proceeds from the event, which was sponsored by Donnie Lamm of Nissan of Clinton, went to the program and will also be used to provide meals for low income families and for the purchase of incontinent supplies.
“This year was very successful,” Henderson said, when she announced the total the fundraiser collected. “It was done on a much larger scale and it will help a lot of families and children in need.”
Henderson said the event raised more than $5,000, which was more than the $4,567 raised last year. This total includes the Nissan of Clinton sponsorship.
With this year’s funds, the Family Caregiver Support Program was able to assist many families throughout Sampson County with the purchase of gifts, and will aide in sending children to summer camp.
“Thanks to Shaggin’ for Santa fundraising proceeds and the awareness of the need, we received additional help,” Henderson stressed.
Henderson gives Robert Stroud and Joey Warren, in addition to Lamm’s support, all the credit in making the event such a success.
According to Henderson, the Family Caregiver Support Program was implemented in 2004 as part of the county’s Department of Aging. The program was designed to assist someone who is considered a family caregiver. That person is defined as a family member that assists and cares for a family member or members, ranging from small amounts of assistance to total assistance.
“Through the program we also assist grandparents that are raising grandchildren,” Henderson said. “The grandparent must be 55 years old and the primary caregiver of the children.”
Henderson said these grandparents are assisted when the parents are absent from the home and the grandparent has taken over total control and responsibility of the child.
The program, according to Henderson, provides community educational workshops, community advocacy, community outreach, care planning, caregiving counseling, caregiver training, support groups, respite, handy man work, yard work, household chore work, personal emergency response alarm systems and more.
“However the funds are limited,” Henderson acknowledged. “That is why the Shaggin’ for Santa fundraising is vital to the Family Caregiver Support Program’s Grandparents Raising Grandchildren. This fundraiser furthers the assistance we give to those in this situation.”
The money raised during the annual Shaggin’ for Santa event is used to purchase items for the children who are a part of the support program. In addition to the items purchased at Christmas, such as toys, clothing and toiletries, any funds that remain at the end of the holiday season are used to help send the children to summer camp and purchase school supplies to deliver at the beginning of each school year.
“Shaggin’ for Santa proceeds allow us to help those families that did not get adopted. Fundraising proceeds that are not used for Christmas are used to send grandchildren to summer camp, which provides the grandparents a time of respite.”
For more information about the Family Caregiver Support Program, contact Henderson at 910-592-4653 or [email protected]
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.