BY O.J. EARLY
What to purchase a loved one for Christmas is about the toughest question some families face this time of year.
For Greene County families struggling just to pay bills, though, at least one question isn't nearly so pleasant: How will I keep myself and my family warm this winter?
The 2013 Christmas Coal Fund is helping local people who don't yet have an answer.
One family, consisting of a mother and three children, was recently assisted by the Coal Fund.
The mother is unable to work and receives no financial help from her children's father, said Carmen Ricker, executive director of Greeneville/Greene County Community Ministries.
The mother of three requested kerosene from the Coal Fund to heat her home.
"Cases like this really get to me because no child should be hungry or cold," Ricker said.
"I know a lot of problems are the result of bad judgment and choices. However, I know children cannot help that they are the ones to live with the choices of the parents."
A father and his 12-year-old son have also benefited from the 2013 Coal Fund campaign. The two-member family lives in a small home warmed by kerosene heaters.
"He is doing all he can to provide for himself and the son," Ricker said, noting that the father has applied for disability. "He does odd jobs for the landlord to cover his rent and utilities."
The local man requested food and kerosene.
Financed purely by the donations of local citizens, churches and organizations, the Coal Fund is helping many families stay warm this winter.
The Christmas Coal Fund Campaign is sponsored annually by The Greeneville Sun and administered without any charge by Community Ministries staff, so every dollar contributed to the fund is used to assist local families in need of help to stay warm.
Donations to the campaign tallied $80,704.90 as of Dec. 17, and more funds are still needed. Donations to the Christmas Coal Fund Campaign end Dec. 31, although contributions to the Fund are accepted year-round.
Gifts in the form of checks or cash may be delivered to the Community Ministries office at 107 N. Cutler St., between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays.
Checks should be made payable to The Coal Fund.
Contributions also can be mailed to:
The Coal Fund
P.O. Box 545
Greeneville, TN 37744
Receipts for contributions will be provided on request.
UPDATE ON CONTRIBUTIONS
Contributions to the Coal Fund as of Dec. 17 that were not previously reported are:
* Pleasant Hill Cumberland Presbyterian Church, $200;
* Greeneville Cumberland Presbyterian Church, $350;
* In memory of Lillie Mae Hutton and Rosie Horner by Dale and Mary Blazer, $100;
* Anonymous, $100;
* Senior Men's Class of Oak Grove Free Will Baptist Church, $100;
In memory of Billy Dale Hawk, Lowell G. Raines, Pasquale Sponcia and Ana Quinones by Ryan M. Hawk, $300;
* Hermon United Methodist Church, $600;
* In honor of Dr. John Lamons by Zan Walker, $50;
* Greystone Free Will Baptist Church Couples Class, $405;
* Roger A. and Trish Gaskins, $100;
* Notre Dame Council of Catholic Women, $415;
* LaRue Bible Class of Asbury United Methodist Church, $100;
* In honor of the wonderful faculty and staff at Camp Creek Elementary School by Debbie and Diana, $80;
* Pine Springs Ladies Class, $100;
* In memory of Stokely H. and Chloe Johnson and Arnold Johnson by Anonymous, $100;
* In memory of James A. and Ollie Mae Brown, Susie Watts and Dan Brown by Anonymous, $100;
* In memory of Margaret and Hall Barry and Mattie and Mart Russell by Rob and Caroline Russell and Family, $200;
* In honor of Asbury United Methodist Church Chili Peppers by Rob and Caroline Russell and Family, $50;
* Anonymous, $500;
* Michael and Bethany Douty, $20;
* In memory of Kathleen Jones by Hart Covington, $50;
* Mount Pisgah United Methodist Church, $56;
* Bill and Lindy Riley, $500, and
* Myron and Kim Cherry, $250.