Teen Christmas program serves youths in need

Nov. 07, 2013 @ 11:25 PM

Teen Christmas, a program for teenagers from low-income families, will be accepting applications for teens in need at the King Family Library on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 14 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Kim Loveday, director of family resources in Sevier County schools, put together the effort because, she said, teenagers are often marginalized by Christmas-based charities.

"Years ago, maybe '96, I was next to a United Way and they had applications for Toys for Tots," Loveday said. "I asked if they gave to older kids and they said, 'No, they're too old, they already know about Santa.' And I just thought that was not fair."

Loveday offered a legal pad. "If any of the kids have an older sibling, put down their gender and what size clothes they wear, I'll try to get something for them," she recalled saying.

Teen Christmas provides an outfit of clothing and a lightweight jacket, as well as some hygiene products for youths 13 and older who are currently enrolled in Sevier County schools.

"If we have more sponsors, there might be something extra, but that's not always going to be the case," Loveday said.

Loveday said there is a definite need for hygiene products for the teens.

"I get calls from the schools asking me to include hygiene products," Loveday said. "It's a big cost, hygiene products for hundreds of kids, so if there wasn't a need we would do something else."

Hygiene can help with self-esteem, Loveday said. "And that's a big deal."

Loveday said she tries to help as many families as she can with Teen Christmas. "If they need help, we'll find a way to help them."

Teenagers who are eligible should provide proof of need in the form of a verification/approval letter from DHS, attendance information from school and some form of identification, such as a driver's license or school ID, or a TennCare, Social Security or EBT card.