ABATE gives boost to Christmas tree fund

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 4, 2000

Katherine Killelea was astonished. &uot;I just can’t believe it’s this much,&uot; she said. &uot;I just don’t know what to say … you just don’t know how much this will help.&uot;

Killelea, the longtime director of the Children’s Christmas Tree Fund charity, had just received a $700 donation from American Bikers Active Toward Education.

&uot;Well, we just wish it could be more,&uot; said Karen Huckon, a representative of ABATE.

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The local chapter of the charitable motorcycle riding club conducted its annual toy run on Nov. 26. In addition to collecting hundreds of toys for the Christmas Tree Fund, the group donated the $700 in cash.

&uot;This is a tremendous help,&uot; Killelea said. &uot;It goes so far.&uot;

The Children’s Christmas Tree Fund, started in the early 1900s by then Democrat publisher James Lambert, provides gifts and clothing for hundreds of needy children in Natchez each year. Working with the Santa Claus club, comprised of local businessmen, the fund coordinates donations and culminates its efforts with a gift distribution on Christmas Eve morning, following the traditional Santa Claus Club parade.

&uot;We have so many people who help,&uot; Killelea said. &uot;For example, Lynn James (owner of Kelly’s Kids) donated clothes for 200 children … That means they’ll have a new outfit for Christmas.&uot;

Other donations made to date include:

— In memory of Frank P. Byrne, $100.

— In memory of Ann Blair Byrne, $100

— In memory of T.J. Sullivan, $50.

— In memory of W.J. Byrne Sr., $50.

— In memory of Nell Fatheree Byrne, $50.

— In memory of Jack P. Byrne, $50.

— In memory of Bryan Edwin Byrne, love Audrey Lynn, $50.

— Natchez Ballet Academy, $50.

— Jean H. Peabody, $25.

— Jefferson Street Methodist Church, gifts for 80 children.

— Sally Cardneaux, $30.

— Mr. and Mrs. B.G. Newman Jr., $40

Donations to the Children’s Christmas Tree Fund can be made via The Democrat, P.O. Box 1447, Natchez, Miss., 39121, or to Killelea at Brown Barnett Dixons, 511-515 Main St., Natchez, Miss., 39120. All gifts will be acknowledged in The Democrat.