Holiday helping hands
Charity tea set for Dec. 3
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Christmas lights and decorations will adorn the Hartselle home of Ronnie and Jennifer Woodward again this holiday season as plans are being made for the 2nd annual F.A.C.E.S. Christmas Tea.
The event will be held Tuesday, Dec. 3 from 4-7 p.m. at the Woodward's home on Ironman Road. All proceeds will benefit F.A.C.E.S. (Families And Children Experiencing Separation) of Morgan County.
According to F.A.C.E.S. representative Margaret MacIlveen, the organization works in conjunction with the Morgan County Department of Human Resources to meet the needs of abused and neglected children who have been placed or are at risk of being placed in to foster care.
"Many children go out the door as they are when removed from the home and placed with a foster parent," MacIlveen said.
"F.A.C.E.S. gives the foster family $100 at the time of the child's placement to take care of his or her immediate needs."
F.A.C.E.S. also assists foster parents to provide each child from age birth through young adulthood with school clothes and supplies, camps, braces, contact lenses, extracurricular activities and other needs.
"There are Morgan County children being placed in homes literally all across Alabama," MacIlveen said. "We put them where their needs are best met, but the need for foster families in our county is great."
MacIlveen said there are currently 147 Morgan County children in foster care and 173 in protective services.
Until last year, F.A.C.E.S. had no charitable event to raise proceeds solely for its program.
"We wanted to do something different," F.A.C.E.S. board member and volunteer Jennifer Woodward said. "The tea was a terrific success last year, so we've decided to expand upon it and host it again this year."
Woodward said in addition to last year's home tour and refreshments, this year's event will feature carriage rides and a silent auction. Artwork, floral arrangements, activity passes, restaurant passes, tools, handbags, and jewelry have already been donated by local businesses for the auction.
"There will also be information on hand regarding foster care for potential foster parents and the Special Friend program," Woodward said. "Through these programs, volunteer work, and donations, there are many opportunities for guests to make a worthy contribution."
Invitations for the event have already been mailed throughout the community, but Woodward said anyone interested in attending can call Woodward Construction at 773-6956 to request additional invitations.
"F.A.C.E.S. tries to meet the needs of each child as any parent would do," MacIlveen said. "These children have been removed from their home through no fault of their own, so we try to make their lives as 'normal' as possible. This event is a big part of making that happen."