Christmas Connection wraps up 2017 season

By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
December 22, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Christmas Connection is tying the bow on another year of helping families have a brighter holiday.

It helped more than 400 families in six counties. About half of the cases were adopted, the Christmas Connection's Tamara Bertrand Jones said.

Each year WCTV is thrilled to help one of those families.

WCTV employees delivered gifts, furniture, clothes and food to Shakeria Byrd and her three boys.

Byrd is getting a little help with the wish lists for her one, two and ten-year-old sons.

"I'm grateful. There's so many of them" Byrd said about the gifts. "I just don't know what to say really."

"Do you think your kids are going to be able to wait until Christmas to open them?"

"I doubt it. I don't have the fight to keep them away from it," she said with a laugh.

By: Julie Montanaro
November 28, 2017

The Christmas Connection opened Tuesday for the 2017 season.

Folks started dropping off donations even before the doors opened.

The Christmas Connection provides food, gifts and necessities to needy families.

This year it'll help nearly 450 families in Leon and five neighboring counties.

"We see everything from single parents who need to provide Christmas for their children as well as vets who have been away serving our country as well as elderly people and other people who have just fallen on hard times," Christmas Connection coordinator Lillie Bogan said.

The donation center is at the Centre of Tallahassee again this year.
It's open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

By: Julie Montanaro | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 27, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- The Christmas Connection is getting ready to open its doors for the 2017 season.

The donation center will open Tuesday, November 28 at 2 p.m. at the Centre of Tallahassee.

The program is a volunteer effort that has been up and running for 38 years. It will provide food, clothes, household items and gifts for nearly 450 families this year.

Tamara Bertrand Jones has been volunteering at the Christmas Connection for more than 10 years.

"It's a tangible way of giving and connecting with another family," Bertrand Jones said. "My favorite thing about Christmas Connection is knowing that we made someone's Christmas a little brighter, that we're sharing love ... God's love ... and it's a reminder that we're all family in this community."

Folks can drop off new and gently used items at the donation center or choose to adopt one of the 435 families in need. The families are referred by social workers in six counties: Leon, Franklin, Gadsden, Jefferson, Madison and Wakulla.

"In this season of spend, spend, spend ... it can help to renew people's faith in their fellow man," Bertrand Jones said. "It makes the season more meaningful and life more meaningful."

WCTV adopts a family each year and shares snapshots of five other families, to give a glimpse into the needs of our neighbors.

Monday, November 27, 2017
Case 49: Wakulla County

An 89 year old Wakulla county woman is trying to start over after losing everything in a fire. She's struggling with respiratory problems and has been staying with different family members while her home is being repaired. She's asking for Queen size sheets and blankets, towels, pots and pans, dishes and glasses and a toaster.

Sheets & blankets (Queen size)
Towels & washcloths
Pots and pans
Dishes & glasses

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Case 10: Jefferson County

A Monticello woman is unemployed and struggling to care for her two young daughters - including one with developmental delays. The child suffered a stroke at birth and the mom spends lots of time traveling to doctor's appointments. The woman is asking for learning toys for the girls ages 6 months and a year ... she's requesting a wagon, an activity center and "anything with Mickey Mouse." She also could use a king size comforter set and some pots and pans.

King size comforter set
Pots and pans
Learning toys
Activity center
Anything "Mickey Mouse"

Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Case 339: Leon County

A family who fled refugee camps in Tanzania is now settling in Tallahassee and trying to provide for their eight children. They range in age from three to 18. The father is doing odd jobs and the mother is working with an interpreter to stay involved in the children's education. The family needs twin beds with sheets and blankets, pots and pans, dishes and utensils, and all the children need clothes and shoes. Several of the kids are asking for bicycles and skateboards, fidget spinners, toy cars and a kids drum set.

Twin beds
Twin size comforters, sheets & blankets
Queen size comforter, sheets & blankets
Pots and pans
Bicycles (all ages)
CD Player
Jump rope
Gifts for 16 year old girl
Toy cars
Fidget spinners
Children's drum set

18 year old boy
Pants: 30 waist/small
Shirts: men's medium
Underwear: men's small
Shoes/Socks: men's 9

16 year old girl
Pants: misses 4
Shirts: misses 4/medium
Underwear: misses 4
Shoes/Socks: women's 9

14 year old boy
Pants: 14
Shirts: medium
Underwear: medium
Shoes/Socks: men's 8

12 year old girl
Pants: 16
Shirts: medium
Underwear: medium
Shoes/Socks: youth size 3

10 year old boy
Pants: 10 regular
Shirts: youth large
Underwear: children's medium
Shoes/Socks: youth size 3

8 year old boy
Pants: 8 regular
Shirts: youth medium
Underwear: youth small/medium
Shoes/Socks: youth size 1

5 year old boy
Pants: 5T
Shirts: 5T
Underwear: 5T
Shoes/Socks: child 13.5

3 year old boy
Pants: 3T
Shirts: 3T
Underwear: 3T
Shoes/Socks: child 1

Thursday, November 30, 2017
Case 302: Madison County

A disabled Korean War vet in Madison County lives alone and hasn't celebrated Christmas since his wife died more than 10 years ago. The 83 year old has no family in the area and loves to have visitors. Despite his limited income, he is always trying to help others. He needs clothes and a warm winter jacket - with zippers only as he cannot button his clothes or pull them over his head. He's asking for some bath towels and a battery powered lantern. He also needs food and all kinds of paper products from toilet paper to paper plates.

Rice Krispies
Canned black eyed peas
Instant mashed potatoes
Ritz crackers
Smooth peanut butter
Diet Pepsi

Bath towels
Battery powered lantern
Paper plates, towels, toilet paper

Pants: Blue jeans 40x25
Shirts: size XXL
Underwear: XXL
Winter coat: (with zipper only) XXL

Friday, December 1, 2017
Case 399: Gadsden County

A Gadsden County family is struggling to recover from hurricane season. They were forced to move after a tree fell on their home and then short on income when the mom missed work to care for her ill mother. The family's top requests - food and winter coats. They'd appreciate presents for an 11 month old boy and two girls ages three and five. They're asking for learning toys, a train set, dolls and a dollhouse, the girls love Frozen and Paw Patrol and the mom would love some perfume and some new clothes.

Diapers(size 6)/wipes
Potty training set
Winter coats (2XL, girls 4, 8/10)
Learning toys
Dolls and dollhouse
Paw Patrol
Children's umbrellas
Girls hair bows
Bath/Body set


27 year old mother
Pants: 18
Shirts: 2XL
Underwear: 10
Shoes/socks: 7.5
Winter coat : 2XL

5 year old girl
Winter coat : girls 8/10

3 year old girl
Winter coat : girls 4

11 month old boy
Pants: 24 months
Shirts: 24 months
Diapers: size 6
Shoes/Socks: 6
Winter coat: 2T

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus