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Christmas Friends: A Village of Santas

Christmas Friends, an annual gift-giving program co-sponsored by the Southside Sentinel and the Middlesex County Department of Social Services, is in its 32nd year of helping the less fortunate of Middlesex County during the holidays.

Through the generosity of community donors and the work of more than 100 volunteers, Christmas Friends delivers gifts to needy children and elderly citizens. This year we will serve about 300 needy residents of Middlesex County.

All funds donated to Christmas Friends go directly to help the needy children and disabled or low income elderly. All workers are volunteers and there are no administrative fees. Donations are tax deductible.

Since its creation in 1986, Christmas Friends Inc. has worked with the Middlesex County Department of Social Services, which carefully screens all applicants for eligibility. Applicants must meet strict income guidelines set by both Christmas Friends Inc. and Social Services.

Christmas Friends Inc. is a great way to help your community.

The gift-giving program has developed a unique process to fill the actual needs and desires of the recipients. Eligible families submit a “wish list” of clothing, toys, household items and other needs, a volunteer shopper is assigned and issued donated funds, and the purchased gifts are assembled at the Sentinel office for wrapping and delivery. Many of the shoppers graciously wrap the gifts as well.

An army of shoppers searches stores to fill the wish lists, gift wrappers work at the Sentinel office on at least two Saturdays, and delivery squads travel the entire county getting the gifts to the right people.

Contributors are recognized as Christmas Friends and their donations are listed in the Southside Sentinel. Contributors who wish to remain anonymous should request that their donations be listed as such. Memorial contributions are also acknowledged. image

The Christmas Friends fund-raising goal is $27,000.

Donations should be made payable to:

Christmas Friends Inc.
c/o Southside Sentinel
P.O. Box 549
Urbanna, Va 23175

If you would like to volunteer for any portion of the program, or for more information, please contact Geanie Longest at the Southside Sentinel at (804) 758-2328 or