Roxbury's Christmas Project helps families through hard times

Roxbury — The Roxbury Community Christmas Project began during the Great Depression, when several teachers noticed that many of their pupils didn’t have coats, hats or mittens to keep them warm on the way to school. Every year since then, this community fund has harnessed the generosity of local students, clergy, business owners and residents to make sure that every family and especially every child in Roxbury experiences some holiday magic and a nourishing and joyous holiday meal.
“This year will be especially demanding, because more families are experiencing tough times, and many folks who usually give to the fund have fewer resources to spare,” said Bonnie Walker, who has helped organize the project for eight years, adding “For the holiday deliveries this year we are focusing on supplying families with a complete turkey dinner, along with other staples such as cereal, milk, cheese, bread, and some treats, like brownie mix, cookies, fruit and candies.” 
Once the holiday food deliveries are made, the project uses its remaining funds to help families throughout the year with extraordinary or emergency expenses, like eyeglasses for a child, fuel costs, or unexpected medical bills. “We expect those needs to be on the rise as well this year,” said Walker. 
The Roxbury Community Christmas Project is the only such effort to help families in the Roxbury Central School District, and should not be confused with other local community Christmas projects targeting other villages and townships. 
“This year, we’re trying to help more than 70 Roxbury families and give some Christmas cheer to more than 200 people, most of them children or seniors,” said Walker. “It’s a tall order but somehow, this community always shows its generosity and pulls it together.” If you would like to donate baked goods, they should be delivered by noon on Monday, Dec. 22 to the Gould Church Carriage House, or to the Holiday Cantata at the Gould Church the night before, Dec. 21. 
If you live in the Roxbury school district and would like to receive a holiday food delivery, contact any one of the Community Christmas Fund committee members and let them know how many adults and children are in your family. Committee members include Bonnie Walker, Lorrayne Bolger, Karen Hinkley, Shirley Kellerhouse, Cheryl Trent, Dan Underwood, Toni Osborn, Rich Dykstra, Lisa Riley, Don Kellerhouse, Dave Martin and Pat Giella.
To contribute, you can make a donation payable to the Community Christmas Project and send it to Bonnie Walker, 489 Al Pekrul Rd., Roxbury, NY 12474. Freewill donations received during the Saturday, Dec. 6 “Holidays of the Gilded Age” events will also go to support the Roxbury Community Christmas Project fund.