Countywide Christmas in July drive continues

by Josie Fox
Filling a Christmas in July bag is easy. Local stores have great deals on the necessities such as beauty and personal health care products. Filling a Christmas in July bag is easy. Local stores have great deals on the necessities such as beauty and personal health care products.

Don’t be a Scrooge – get down to your public library for a Christmas in July donation bag before it’s too late to change your humbug ways.

Cherokee County’s annual Christmas in July donation drive will continue through the month of July and benefits the county’s Rainbow Room.

The Rainbow Room, which is stocked solely with donations from the community, provides the necessities to children who are removed from abusive or neglectful homes. Clothing, personal hygiene items, school supplies, shoes, toys and books, diapers, even car seats and other equipment are all ready to go when a child is in need.

“The need is always greatest right now,” longtime Rainbow Room volunteer Shirley Reese said, “because we almost always see an uptick in family crises during the summer months.

“We are especially needing clothes for older children and teenagers, and back-to-school is just around the corner too, so getting a head start on school supplies would be wonderful!”

The annual drive is sponsored by the Jacksonville Public Library, the Rusk Public Library, Stella Hill Memorial Library in Alto, Sonic-Rusk, JP Auto, the Cherokeean Herald, the Cherokee County Child & Family Welfare Board and the Parker family.

“I first learned about the Rainbow Room when I was working for the newspaper in Athens,” drive co-organizer Cristin Parker said. “The situations some of these children face just gets to me and when I learned Cherokee County had a Rainbow Room, I wanted to do something to help.

“My parents, niece and nephews have stepped up and do all the running and collecting – all the heavy lifting really – so without them, these drives wouldn’t happen. I definitely want to thank them for all their support!”

Cherokee County’s Rainbow Room is located at the Cherokee County DFPS office, 1037 SE Loop 456, in Jacksonville and is directed by the CCFWB.

To participate in the Christmas in July donation drive, visit the Jacksonville and Rusk public libraries and the Stella Hill Memorial Library in Alto and get a Sonic to-go bag; inside each bag is a list of items the Rainbow Room always needs; fill the Sonic bag with items from the list and take it back to the library; drive volunteers will collect filled bags through the month of July and present all donations to the Rainbow Room during the first week in August.

Visit for more information on to make a monetary donation to the Cherokee County Rainbow Room.

Call (800) 252-5400 to report abuse, neglect or exploitation of children, the elderly, or people with disabilities, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Visit www.txabusehotlineorg.