Volunteers and employees of the Carthage Police Department are preparing to help hundreds of Carthage children have a merrier Christmas this year.

Volunteers and employees of the Carthage Police Department are preparing to help hundreds of Carthage children have a merrier Christmas this year.
A committee of volunteers is working with the police department to prepare for the 42nd Annual LaVerne Williams Christmas Party, scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 16, at Carthage's Memorial Hall.
Carthage Entertainer Duke Mason and his band will hold their traditional Steve Benjamin Memorial Christmas Concert one week ahead of the Christmas Party.
Admission to this concert is a new, unwrapped toy or a monetary donation to the Carthage Police Department for the LaVerne Williams Christmas Party.
The concert is slated for 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 9, with doors to open at 6:30 p.m.
In a letter to area business, Organizing Committee members Cheryle Finley and Betty Saferite appealed for donations to meet the goal the late Carthage Police Detective set for the party before his death in 2009.
“By continuing Detective LaVerne Williams' wish that no child be turned away from this annual event, we anticipate a larger response to this year's party compared to last year,” Finley and Saferite said in the letter. “With an average attendance of over 300 Carthage children, we hope to continue presenting each child with a $10 gift card, candy and treats as well as offering door prizes. This party has always been funded through the generosity of the community so we are reaching out to our citizens for assistance.”
The volunteers ask that donations be mailed to the Carthage Police Department, 310 W. Fourth St., or people can place donations in an envelope and drop them off at the police department or the Carthage Chamber of Commerce Office.
Checks can be made payable to the LaVerne Williams Christmas Party. Unwrapped, new toys can be brought to Saturday's Concert or they can be dropped in drop boxes at the Carthage Public Library, the police station, and Dollar General Stores at 1221 W. Central and 2432 Grand Ave.

Shop with a Deputy
Jasper County Sheriff's Deputies are getting ready to make a happier Christmas for dozens of children in the Sarcoxie, Avilla and Jasper areas with the upcoming Shop with a Deputy event, slated for 8 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16.
The Shop with a Deputy program assists children in these communities because the children in the larger Jasper County school districts are served by local police “Shop with a Cop” programs.
Sarcoxie Police Department and Jasper Police Department are small enough that hosting their own Shop with a Cop event is difficult and Avilla has no police department, so the local officers and other volunteers have joined forces with the Sheriff's Office to hold this event at the Carthage Walmart to help children in these smaller communities.
“We have been able to have approximately 100 kids be part of the program for each of the past 10 years,” the Sheriff's office said. “All funds for Shop with a Deputy are from donations from our deputies, local businesses, sponsors and grants. All of the funds go specifically to Shop with a Deputy and no other purchases. We are very thankful and grateful to our supportive community and businesses who have allowed us to continue this program for our kids and their families.”