By Kara Van Pelt
The Green Devils, a 4-H youth development program in Oak Hill, has applied for a $5,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Everything Project, in order to improve its “Operation 12 Days of Christmas” program, according to Alicia Adkins, health officer for Fayette County 4-H leaders association.
The project awards up to 20 grants of $5,000 per month to organizations that have a positive impact on the world.
The Green Devils, which consists of 18 kids ranging in ages from 9 to 19, started the program in 2008. “Operation 12 Days of Christmas” focuses on supplying low-income children, ages 5 to 10, with Christmas gifts to keep them engaged in the spirit of Christmas and help provide a positive experience, Adkins said.
Each child receives a basket with 12 numbered gifts. Starting on Dec. 13, they open the gifts in numerical order each day until Christmas.
Although successful since its inception, the group is hoping to improve the program by gifting better-quality toys to 100 children selected by the Department of Health and Human Resources.
Adkins explained that in years past, the average price of each toy was approximately 80 cents. A $5,000 grant would allow them to gift toys that cost around $3 each, she said.
“After our last Christmas party where we handed out baskets, I also handed out surveys to get a feel of how popular this program was, and we found the biggest request was for better-quality toys,” Adkins explained. “However, so many surveys came back with parents just saying ‘thank you’ because some of these kids wouldn’t have received a gift if not for these baskets.”
Adkins said anyone can help this important cause by visiting www.pepsirefresheverything.com/greendevils and registering, then voting once a day, daily, until June 30. Also, Pepsi products that include “power votes” on the container supply 10-digit codes that randomly award five to 100 votes.
Since voting was opened to the public on June 1, Adkins said their votes have “jumped all over the place.” “We need people to vote because although now we are ranked at 7, one day we dropped 12 points overnight,” she explained. “Every child deserves a gift at Christmas, and during these trying and difficult economic times, some have had to go without.”
Adkins said regardless of the contest outcome, “Operation 12 Days of Christmas” will continue, but The Green Devils hope to receive the public’s assistance in making this year the best yet.
Anyone interested in making monetary donations can do so at J.P. Morgan Chase bank in Oak Hill or by calling Adkins at 304-237-6149 or e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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