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Macon Chronicle-Herald - Macon, MO
  • The Gift of Giving

  • How would you feel if you woke up on Christmas morning to find a tree with nothing beneath it? A local group is doing something about it.
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  • How would you feel if you woke up on Christmas morning to find a tree with nothing beneath it? Heartbreaking only slightly begins to describe it. Unfortunately for many, this is a reality. Luckily there are multiple programs like the Better Living Center who are here to make Christmas a little brighter.
    “We have brand new toys we are donating to families to hopefully make Christmas a little brighter this year,” said Better Living Center volunteer Anne Brown.
    According to Brown, this program has been occurring for as long as the Better Living Center’s life—approximately 30 years. Only, this is the first year the toys being donated to families are brand new.
    “Usually the toys are used and donated from members of the community,” said Brown. “But this year the budget allowed to purchase new toys.”
    The Better Living Center, which is sponsored by the Macon Seventh Day Adventist Church, collected names of families and the ages of their children, purchased toys and bagged them up to be handed out on the designated Christmas pick-up day which occurred on Tuesday, December 10. The families then collected the bags to wrap the toys and deliver them to their children on Christmas morning.
    “Because of layoffs and factories shutting down, people have come in who thought they never would have to come in and that is so heartbreaking,” said Better Living Center volunteer Linda Bunton. “It’s hard to see them come in because we know they really had to swallow their pride to come in. And that’s why we try to make this the easiest process we can.”
    This year’s event helped out 50 families including approximately 120 kids.
    “And each year we have more and more families who need help,” said Bunton. “It’s a sign of the times. Many people tell us we can’t shut down because we are the only way they can clothe their children for school.”
    On top of the parents coming in for their bag of presents for their children, the kids even got to pick out a present for their parents.
    “This is just extra so the kids can give to their parents,” said Bunton. “It’s all used, but it is still something so the parents can have something from their child.”
    But according to Bunton, the Better Living Center does more than just help out the community through donations.
    “People come here for prayer, which is most important,” said Bunton. “People come here for pep talks because they are going through something that they don’t know how to handle. They just need someone to talk to. Someone to listen.”
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