SEASON OF WISHES: Charitable fund brings joy to children on Christmas Eve

Published 4:34 pm Tuesday, December 21, 2021

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NATCHEZ — Since the early 1900s, a Natchez charity has provided gifts to hundreds of children through the Miss-Lou community’s kind support.

This year will be no different, said Natchez Children’s Christmas Tree volunteer, Johnny Junkin.

Just as they have last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, children who will receive presents from the Children’s Christmas Tree fund will be lining up in their families’ vehicles outside of the Braden Administration Building on Homochitto Street at approximately 11 a.m. on Christmas Eve.

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“We’re playing it safe,” Junkin said.

The fund was founded by a former publisher of The Natchez Democrat, James Lambert, with the intent of providing gifts for the less fortunate children of Natchez.

As is a long running Natchez tradition, the Children’s Christmas Tree fund partners with the Natchez Santa Claus Committee, which elects a Santa Claus from among its members to do the honor of distributing the toys to children in poverty who might not otherwise get any presents.

Families are selected through an application process facilitated by Catholic Charities.

“This year we have right around 300 children getting gifts,” Junkin said.

The presents for this year are already paid for on credit and the fund relies on community donations to recoup the cost and make purchases for next year, he said.

“We put it on a credit card and hope for the goodness of the folks and they always come through,” Junkin said.

For those who would like to support the cause, checks can be made out to the Natchez Children’s Christmas Tree Fund and mailed to P.O. Box 1082, Natchez MS, 39121.