Not everyone wants a new television or fancy purse for Christmas. In fact, some people just want to know someone is there for them. That’s why Lamar County Meals on Wheels Executive Director Shelly Braziel started a Christmas Memories category within her Gifts of Love program.
“In 2014, I began the Christmas Memories gift program,” Braziel said. “This program is a subprogram of Gifts of Love. The program is for one Gifts of Love recipient who had a request that was unique to all the others.”
One year, a man whose wife had just passed away wanted a Christmas dinner and to have company over, so Braziel partnered with a local church to do just that.
“In 2017, we selected Miss Georgia, who only wanted Christmas cards,” Braziel said. “We spread the word and were able to deliver more than 2,000 cards to her.”
This year, Braziel has selected a client who requested help paying her bills for December.
“She told us she was struggling to pay her bills each month and, for the month of December, if she could have a little help she would be able to breathe a little easier for at least a month,” Braziel said. “When I read her note to us, my heart grew three sizes. I knew she had to be our Christmas Memories recipient.”
Braziel said she is asking the community to come together and help cover all of her bills for the month of December, and hopefully a little more. Any donations received that are designated for “Christmas Memories Gift” will be used to pay her bills for this month.
“I hope to have enough left over to buy her some groceries too,” Braziel said.
The average income for a single household receiving Meals on Wheels in Lamar County is less than $1,000 a month.
“Can you imagine paying your rent, electric, gas, water, & phone bill on less than $1,000 a month and still having money left over for groceries or gas to get to and from the doctor,” Braziel asked. “I don’t think I would be able to do it. Our goal is to raise $1,000 to cover her bills, and anything over that we can use for groceries or other essentials like toiletries.”
As of today, the program has only received $100 in donations.
“I have absolute faith in this wonderful community, though,” Braziel said. “I know that we will not only reach this goal but exceed it.”
Donations can be mailed to P.O. BOX 714, Paris TX 75461 or dropped off at the office at 1273 NW 19th St. in Paris.
“We ask that you be sure to indicate the donation is for the Christmas Memories Gift, either in the check memo or on an attached note,” Braziel said. “Donations are due by December 14 at 4 p.m.”