Steven, 64, would like a Three Musketeers for Christmas. John, 24, would like an iPod and Patricia, 74, would like some word search books.
These Christmas wishes come from people under the care of the Jasper County Public Administrator's office. For the past four years, the office has coordinated a Christmas effort for incapacitated and disabled adults who otherwise would not receive a Christmas gift.
An adoption tree is set up in the Courthouse, decorated with names of people, ages 20s-elderly, to make the season bright for those in need. Angie Casavecchia, Jasper County public administrator, said there are currently between 350-400 people who will benefit from the community's generosity. Most of these people are in Jasper County, but some who are still under the administrator's care are located elsewhere in the state where their needs are most effectively met.
The adoption tree is adorned with ornaments that have names on the front, and a wish list of items the individual would like for Christmas on the back.
“We've received a good response this year, but there are still a lot of names on the tree,” said Brooke Schoebrerl, deputy public administrator. “Any item would be greatly appreciated. Most of our people live in nursing homes and have a small, fixed income. I think it's a huge need.”
Something new this year, the administrator’s office sent small adoption trees to four local churches to request hygiene products. That way, the office can make gift packages for folks who did not receive anything this year.
Just a few feet away from the adoption tree, the hearts in the Jasper County Clerk's office are touched every year.
“My thing is I think it's awesome the administrator's office is doing this to make sure everyone gets something for Christmas,” said Mary Lou Teel, deputy clerk for Jasper County. “We all here in the office pick names. I pick a name and my kids have always helped me get the gifts. So it helps teach them the true meaning of Christmas – giving … We love it. It really gets you into the Christmas spirit.”
How can you help?
Choose a name from the tree, wrap the present or donation and return it to the box in the Courthouse with the name ornament. Office representatives can pick up gifts as well. Deadline to send a gift is Friday, Dec. 21. For questions, call the office at 358-4268 or like “Jasper County Public Administrator's Office” on Facebook.