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Christmas Connection Opens

UPDATED 11.29.2011 6:45pm by Julie Montanaro

The Christmas Connection opened its doors today at the Tallahassee Mall.

Volunteers gathered at the donation center to break bread and get to work.

A priest blessed the site and the folks who will work here for the next three weeks.

The Christmas Connection tries to make the holidays brighter for nearly 500 needy families in the Big Bend each year.

Beverly Johnson, a case manager with DISC Village, attended the luncheon and referred several families for help.

"That's taking a burden off of them and most of our families are so grateful that we're helping them and just to see the smiles on the kids' faces," Johnson said.

Underground Utilities employees held a fundraiser and donated more than $3,000 to kick off the season. They presented that check today.

The shelves will soon be filled with toys, food, clothes and all kinds of household goods.

The Christmas Connection hopes half the families will be adopted by businesses and folks in the community.

The donation center is located at the old Goody's at Tallahassee Mall.
The hours are 10am to 6pm Tuesday through Friday, 10am-5pm on Saturday and 1pm to 5pm on Sunday.
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November 29, 2011 noon

The Christmas Connection is now open. Donations and volunteers will help 500 families have brighter holiday. Watch our live interview from the Christmas Connection.

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November 28, 2011 by Julie Montanaro

The Christmas Connection helps hundreds of needy families in the Big Bend each year by providing them with food, clothing and gifts.

The donation center will open on Tuesday, November 29th at the old Goody’s at the Tallahassee Mall. That’s 2415 North Monroe Street, Suite 120, Tallahassee

The hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10 AM to 6 PM and Sundays 1PM to 5PM.

The Christmas Connection families have been referred by social workers at various agencies in the community who have recognized and documented their needs.

WCTV will feature a different family on Eyewitness News at 6 each week night in hopes that you will discover the needs of your neighbors and be inspired to help.

Volunteers are needed to sort donations as well as to pack and deliver gifts to families.

CASE 490 … MONDAY, NOVEMBER 28

A Tallahassee couple and their five children are struggling in the wake of 2008 fire that destroyed their house and belongings. The father is working but his hours have been cut in half. They need help paying their utility bill, as well as blankets and dishes. The three teenage boys would like hoodies and thermals, a football, basketball and baseball. The eight year old daughter would like stuffed animals, art supplies and all things that glitter.

Family needs:
Help paying utility bill (Talquin Electric)
Blankets (queen)
Dishes
School supplies
Food
Toiletries
Cleaning Supplies

41 year old father:
work boots (size 11)
pants (men’s 38x32)
shirts (men’s XL)
underwear (men’s 38)

47 year old mother:
coat
pants (women’s 10)
shirts (women’s XL)
dress (women’s 10)
underwear (women’s size 8)
boots (women’s 10)

18 year old son:
basketball
Thermal tops and bottoms
pants (men’s 34x32)
shirts (men’s XL)
underwear (34 boxers)
shoes (men’s 10 ½)

15 year old son:
basketball
Hoodie jacket and thermal wear
pants (men’s 32x32)
shirts (men’s L)
underwear (32 boxers)
shoes (men’s 9 ½)

14 year old son:
football
football jacket
wrestling game
hoodie jacket and thermal wear
jeans (men’s 32x32)
shirts (men’s large)
underwear (32 boxers)

CASE 85 …TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29

A 92 year old woman in Madison County is blind and disabled and the daughter who has helped care for her recently passed away. Another daughter has stepped in to help in hopes of keeping the woman out of a nursing home. They need a portable heater, winter jackets, queen size linens and blankets, pots, pans, dishes and towels.

Family needs:
portable heater
winter jackets
linens and blankets (queen)
pots and pans
dishes
towels
food
toiletries
cleaning supplies

92 year old mother:
Winter jacket (large)
Pants (women’s 12)
Shirts (women’s medium)
Dress (women’s 12)
Underwear (women’s 7)
Shoes (women’s 9)

53 year old daughter:
winter jacket (large)
Pants (women’s 12)
Shirts (women’s 12)
Dress (women’s 12)
Underwear (women’s medium)
Shoes (women’s 10 wide)

CASE 315 ... WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 30

A Tallahassee woman is raising three children. Her 10 year old daughter had a heart transplant earlier in the year and the family has had to make many trips back and forth to Shands in Gainesville. The daughter needs comfortable bedding, preferably in her favorite colors purple, pink, yellow and white. She'd also like a manicure kit and polish for her nails. Her older brother would like a basketball and MP3 player and her younger brother - who's 5 - needs a coat and would like some learning toys. The mother is asking for some new cookware and some warm pajamas.

Family Needs:
linens and comforter for 10 year old girl (full, purple/pink/yellow)
pots and pans, cookware
food
toiletries
cleaning supplies

30 year old mother:
Pajamas (women’s large)
Pants (women’s 16-18)
Shirts (women’s 16-18)
Dress (women’s 16-18)
Underwear (bra 38 DDD)
Shoes (women’s 11 ½)

16 year old son:
Basketball
Mp3 player
Pants (boy’s 34-36)
Shirts (boy’s 34-36)
Underwear (boy’s large 32-34)
Shoes (bedroom shoes boy’s large)

10 year old daughter:
Comforter (full)
Manicure kit and nail polish
Pants (girls 16-18)
Shirts (girls 16-18)
Dress (girls 16-18)
Underwear (girls medium)

5 year old son:
Children’s learning toys
Coat (boys 10-12)
Pants (boys 10-12)
Shirts (boys 10-12)
Underwear (boys 10-12, medium)
Shoes (bedroom shoes boys medium)

CASE 240 … THURSDAY, DECEMBER 1

This Tallahassee family may be spending its last Christmas together. The grandmother is raising her three grandchildren. She's terminally ill and wants to make this an extra-special time together. The grandmother survives on disability and food stamps and desperately needs help feeding and clothing three boys ages 12, 15 and 16. The woman needs pots, pans and small kitchen appliances. The whole family needs blankets. The boys are asking for bicycles and a basketball, I pods and I tunes, a prepaid cell phone and some x-box games.

Family needs:
Pots, pans and cookware
Small kitchen appliances
blankets
food
toiletries
cleaning supplies

49 year old grandmother:
Pants (women’s 12)
Shirts (women’s large)
Dress (women’s 12)
Underwear (women’s 7)
Shoes (women’s 12)

16 year old grandson:
Basketball
I-tunes, I-pod
Pants (men’s 34)
Shirts (men’s XL)
Underwear (women’s 12)
Shoes (men’s 11)

15 year old grandson:
Bicycle
i-tunes
prepaid cell phone
pants (men’s 52)
shirts (men’s 4X)
underwear (men’s 52)
shoes (men’s 11)

12 year old grandson:
Bicycle
x-box games
pants (boy’s 16)
shirts (boys 14-16)
underwear (boys 14-16)
shoes (6)

CASE 62 … FRIDAY, DECEMBER 2

A Gadsen County family of five is struggling to make it on a seasonal worker's salary.
The family lives in a rented doublewide with no heat. The family is asking for at least one portable heater, blankets and warm clothing. The mother would like a camera, the father would like a tool box with tools. They have three children ages 2, 4 and 6. The boys want wrestling figures and the four year old girl wants barbies and a doll house.

Family needs:
Two electric heaters
Blankets
Winter clothes
Food
Toiletries
Cleaning supplies

26 year old mother:
Camera
Pants (women’s 7/8)
Shirts (women’s small)
Dress (women’s 7/8)
Underwear (women’s 7)
Shoes (women’s size 9)

25 year old father:
Tool box with tools
Pants (men’s 36x32)
Shirts (men’s XL)
Underwear (men’s medium boxers)
Shoes (men’s 10 1/2)

6 year old son:
Wrestling men
Pants (boys 6 regular)
Shirts (boys 7)
Underwear (boys 6)
Shoes (boys 11)

4 year old daughter:
Barbie dolls
Doll house
Pants (girls size 5)
Shirts (girls 4T)
Dress (girls 5)
Underwear (girls 5)
Shoes (10)

2 year old son:
Wrestling men
Pants (boys 3T)
Shirts (boys 3T)
Underwear (boys 3T)
Shoes (8 ½)

CASE 4 … MONDAY, DECEMBER 5

A Tallahassee family of five is trying to start over after losing its house and car. The father was laid off and the mother is working three jobs to try to make ends meet. They are a close knit family who could use help with food and school clothes for the children.

The family needs help paying its utility bill. It needs queen size linens and comforters. The 14 year old son would like a basketball and an MP3 player. The 12 year old daughter would like books and a manicure set. The six year old son would like a bike and some race cars. Mom is asking for a black purse and dad would like a men's watch.

Family Needs:
Help paying utility bill (City of Tallahassee)
Comforters (queen)
Sheets (queen)
Food
Toiletries
Cleaning supplies

33 year old Mother:
Black purse
Pants: 18 womens
Shirts: 1X womens
Dresses: 18 womens
Underwear: 9
Shoes: 8 ½ womens

34 year old Father:
Watch
Pants: 36 x 32 khakis
Shirts: medium or large
Underwear: 36
Shoes: 9 ½

14 year old son:
Basketball
Mp3 player
Pants: 16 boys
Shirts: adult small
Underwear: 16 boys
Shoes: 10 tennis shoes

12 year old daughter:
Books
Manicure set
iTunes gift card
Pants: 14 girls
Shirts: 14 girls
Dresses: 14 girls
Underwear: 14 girls
Shoes: 5 ½

6 year old son:
Bicycle
Race cars
Trains
Pants: 5 boys
Shirts: 5 boys
Underwear: 5 boys
Shoes: 10 ½

CASE 214 … TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6

A Tallahassee family is struggling to make ends meet after the 36 year old father suffered a massive stroke. It's one of nearly 500 families counting on the Christmas Connection for a brighter holiday this year.

The family of seven was self sufficient before the dad suffered a stroke in May. He is receiving therapy, but is still partially paralyzed. The mother then lost her job as she tried to keep up with the demands of caring for him.

The family needs twin size beds and linens. It needs some handicap accessible equipment and help installing it. The family could use gas cards. It would appreciate some Wal mart gift cards and would love a family outing to the movies. The teen boys ages 16, 13 and 12 want basketballs, books and MP3 players. The seven year old boy wants a bike and some wrestling men and the lone girl in the house - a seven year old - would like a bike and some Barbies.

Family Needs:
Twin size mattresses
Twin size linens, comforters
Handicap accessible equipment (help with installation too)
Gas Cards
Wal Mart gift cards
Food
Toiletries
Cleaning Supplies

32 year old Mother:
Dishes
Vacuum cleaner

36 year old Father:
Towels
Books
Wal mart gift card

16 year old son:
Basketball
Wal mart gift card
Pants: 16
Shirts: XL
Underwear: L
Shoes: 7 ½

13 year old daughter:
Books
Mp3 player
Pants: 18
Shirts: 2X
Dresses: 18
Underwear: 9
Shoes: 10

12 year old son:
Books
Mp3 player
Pants: 14
Shirts: L
Underwear: medium boxer
Shoes: 7

7 year old daughter:
Bicycle
Barbie doll
Pants: 12
Shirts: 12-14
Dresses: 12
Underwear: 12
Shoes: 2

7 year old son:
Bicycle
Wrestling men
Pants: 12
Shirts: 12-14
Underwear: 12
Shoes: 2

CASE 339 … WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 7th

An elderly Madison County man is counting on the Christmas Connection for help this holiday season. The 87 year old just recently got running water. He lives without heat and air and relies on a wood stove to stay warm. He doesn't have any major appliances and gets by with a deep freezer, a deep fryer and a crock pot. He's not asking for much. He needs a full size mattress with linens, a vacuum, a broom and mop. He needs a jacket, warm sweaters and socks. He'd also like a radio.

Family needs:
Mattress (full)
Linens (full)
Blankets/comforter (full)
Vacuum cleaner
Mop
Broom
Food
Toiletries
Cleaning supplies

87 year old man:
radio
Coat: 2X
Sweaters: 2X
Socks
Pants: 42 x 30
Shirts: 2X

CASE 26 … THURSDAY, DECEMBER 8

The Christmas Connection is hoping to make the holidays brighter for a Tallahassee woman and her extended family. She is caring for her mother and six children, five of them are nieces and nephews whose parents could no longer care for them.The woman lost her job and had to drop out of school to care for them all. The children are age seven to 17. She'd like a computer to help the children with their school work. She's asking for more dishes for the family and would love some bath and body items to treat herself and her teenage girls. The 17 year old boy would like a basektball and an MP3 player. The 15, 14, 12 and 11 year old girls would like a radio, perfume, nail polilsh and hair accessories. The girls would also like some art supplies. The 7 year old boy would like some cars and trucks. The family asked for food, clothes and toiletries too.

Family needs:
Computer
Dishes

35 year old mother:
Perfume
Bath and body set
Pants: 20 womens
Shirts: (t-shirts, casual) 1X
Dresses: 20 womens
Underwear: 9
Shoes: (flat boots) 8

17 year old nephew:
Basketball
Mp3 player
Pants: (baggy jeans) 32X32
Shirts: (t-shirts) L
Underwear: 32 mens
Shoes: (black tennis shoes) 9 1/2

15 year old daughter:
Radio
Bath and body set
Pants: 7/8 womens
Shirts: 7/8 womens
Dresses: 7/8
Underwear: 6
Shoes (teen boots) 7 ½

14 year old niece:
Radio
Perfume
Bath and body set
Pants: (jeans or khakis) 14 girls
Shirts: (t-shirts) girls L
Dresses: 14 girls
Underwear: 14 girls
Shoes: (flat boots) 6 ½

12 year old niece:
Radio
“girlie stuff”
Nail polish
Hair accessories
Art supplies
Pants: (jeans) 10 girls
Shirts: 8-10 or medium girls
Dresses: 8-10 girls
Underwear: 8-10 girls
Shoes: (flat boots) 6

11 year old niece:
Radio
“girlie stuff”
Nail polish
Perfume
Art supplies
Pants: 10 girls
Shirts: medium girls
Dresses: 10 girls
Underwear: 10 girls
Shoes: (flat boots) 6

7 year old nephew:
Toy cars
Trucks
Pants: 7x boys
Shirts: 7x boys
Underwear: 7 boys
Shoes: (tennis shoes) 3 boys

CASE 370 … FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9

A single mom in Madison is raising four honor roll students. She is hoping the Christmas Connection can help her family have a more joyous holiday.

The family needs a twin beds and linens for the children. The woman is requesting new pots, pans and silverware to replace the rusty ones she has now. The family needs a portable heater.

The mother is taking college courses, but lightning struck her computer and with no car, she now walks to the library to do her coursework. She'd like a new computer.

Her 10 and 12 year old daughters would like a cd player and an mp3 player ... her 9 year old son would like a basketball and game console, and for her 3 year old daughter, the woman is asking for a baby doll and some leap frog educational toys. The family also asked for canned food, clothing and toiletries.

Family needs:
Computer
Mattresses (twin)
Linens & blankets (twin)
Comforter (twin)
Pots and pans
Silverware
Portable heater
Canned food
Food
Toiletries
Cleaning supplies

29 year old mother:
Pants: 7 womens
Shirts: medium womens
Dresses: 7/8 womens
Underwear: 7
Shoes: 6 ½

12 year old daughter:
Cd player
Mp3 player
i-pod
pants: 14/16 girls
shirts: L girls
dresses: 14/16 girls
underwear: 16 girls
shoes: 8 ½ womens

10 year old daughter:
Cd player
Mp3 player
i-pod
pants: 14/16 girls
shirts: L girls
dresses: 12/14 girls
underwear: 14 girls
shoes: 8 womens

9 year old son:
Basketball
Nintendo game console
pants: 12/14 boys
shirts: L boys
underwear: 12 boys
shoes: 8 ½ boys

3 year old daughter:
Baby doll
Leap frog educational toys
pants: 4 girls
shirts: 4 girls
dresses: 4/5 girls
underwear: 4 girls
shoes: 9


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