Santa's elves have been shopping for children of military families, and on Nov. 21 the public got a glimpse into Christmas House where the needy military families will pick up the items.
"More than any other project this is truly of labor of love," said Brig. Gen. Randolph Strong, Fort Gordon's commanding general, at the open house. "It brings the true meaning of Christmas to life. The hundreds of volunteer hours contributed are invaluable. They can never be adequately repaid. I trust the thought of a happy child and appreciative parents is what keeps them coming back year after year."
More than 800 children in 300 families will receive added assistance this holiday season from Christmas House, organizers said.
Christmas House began 40 years ago with Army nurses giving teddy bears to children whose fathers were deployed to Vietnam.
Jack Frost and the Flakes, a group of carolers led by Fort Gordon's Chief of Staff Col. Jack Bryant, helped everyone get into the holiday spirit by singing Frosty the Snowman and Deck the Halls. The Freedom Park Elementary School chorus sang Celebrate the Joy and Santa Claus is On His Way.
Several organizations from Fort Gordon and the Augusta area presented oversized checks representing donations to the charity.
Money donated to the program is raised through "golf tournaments, car washes, support of the Angel Tree and bake sales. "This program is so wonderful. It not only helps those in need, but involves others in the joy of giving during the holidays," said Brig. Gen. Strong.
A visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus completed the ceremony.
Donations to Christmas House are still being accepted.
For more information, call Lynn Harshman at 791-3579.
Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at email@example.com.