Last chance to sign up for Teen Christmas

Nov. 14, 2012 @ 06:01 PM

On Thursday, Sevier County families have a final opportunity to sign up for Teen Christmas. The program distributes clothing and hygiene items to teens age 13-17. Registration is at the King Family Library, 408 High St. in Sevierville, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Participants should bring proof that they live in Sevier County; Social Security cards for all teens; proof of low income, such as documentation for food stamps or TennCare; and proof of attendance in Sevier County middle or high schools.

In December, registered teens will receive jeans, a shirt, a hoodie or fleece, socks, pajamas, a scarf and gloves. Hygiene items include soap, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, lip balm and comb or brush.

“People don’t understand, we’ve got the working poor in Sevier County,” said Kim Loveday, director of the Sevier County Family Resource Center, which administers the program. “If you’re low-income, it’s hard to pay the bills. Sometimes hygiene is not a priority. Kids may not go to school because they don’t have adequate clothing.”

Individual hygiene items seem inexpensive, Loveday said. “But then you add them up.”

Loveday started Teen Christmas in 1996, when she noticed programs like Toys for Tots serve only younger children. “That didn’t seem right,” she said. The first year the program served 36 teens. Now it serves as many as 300.

The Sevier County Family Resource Center is part of the Sevier County School System.

Teen Christmas is paid for entirely with donations. People who want to help can sponsor individual teens. A sponsor receives a teen’s age, shirt size, pants size and favorite color, then spends $65-75 on items that are new, not used.

In December, parents will receive receipts with information about where to pick up the items, which they can gift wrap individually.

To sponsor or donate, contact Loveday at 428-7999 or sevierfamilyresource@yahoo.com.