Voluntary Action Center's Christmas program to hold sign-ups

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 | 1:41 p.m. CDT; updated 2:49 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, October 5, 2010

* This article has been changed to correct the final date of general sign-ups and to clarify which families must be referred to the Voluntary Action Center by a local agency.

COLUMBIA — Sign-ups for the Voluntary Action Center’s 27th-annual adopt-a-family Christmas program begin Oct. 9 and continue through Oct. 21.

For people interested in receiving assistance through the program,  sign-up events will be held at the Blind Boone Center, 301 N. Providence Road.

General sign-ups, including those for all families with children under the age of 18, will be at 9 a.m. on Oct. 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 19 and 21.*

Special sign-ups for parents who work at least 30 hours per week will be at 9 a.m. on Oct. 9 and at 6 p.m. on Oct. 13 and 20.

Unlike past years, the program now only accepts families with disabled or elderly individuals that have been referred by local agencies.* The center must receive referrals by Wednesday.

“We are still servicing this community,” Marissa Todd, project director for the action center, said. “We think agencies that we work with are in a better position to determine who needs this program.”

Community groups, local businesses, schools and churches sponsor the families that sign up for the Christmas program. The center had been signing up sponsors and had 150 families accounted for two days into the process.

“Sponsors are the key to our program,” Cindy Mustard, the action center's executive director, said in a news release. “The sponsor pledges to provide food for the holidays, along with at least one new gift for each child, elderly or disabled person in a family.”

Individuals or groups that are interested in sponsoring a family can contact the Voluntary Action Center at (573) 874-2273.

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