In just a few weeks, Christmas will be here. But for many children throughout McDuffie and Warren counties, there won't be many, if any, gifts under the tree.
A group of local Christians are hoping to change that for as many children as possible in the two-county area this Christmas.
"The good Lord put this on me about a month ago," said Al Reeves, who works as a deputy with the McDuffie County Sheriff's Department. "The program is entitled, Shop with a Christian."
The deputy sheriff said he was working closely with Sally Phillips, with the McDuffie County Department of Family and Children's Services, to get names of area children who have needs this Christmas.
"Our goal is to raise $150 for each child," said Deputy Reeves. "With that money, each child will get a chance to go shopping at Wal-Mart with a local Christian and buy maybe a couple of toys, a pair of new shoes and some clothes."
Each child also will receive a Bible.
"I think that will be one of the best gifts they could ever receive," said Deputy Reeves. "They will get to read the Word of the Lord and there are no greater words."
Deputy Reeves, a 16-year veteran lawman, said he had derived at the name for the new program from a program adopted several years ago by the Columbia County Sheriff's Department. It was called "Shop with a Cop."
"Our program is about shopping with Christians," said Deputy Reeves, who has teamed up with volunteers at Old Frontier, a local Christian group whose aim is to help spread the Word of Jesus Christ by holding various teenage events all during the course of the year. "That group does a great job of trying to reach our children throughout the area and telling them about Jesus Christ."
He explained that Tom Luckey, a retired deputy, who now owns and operates a business in Thomson, told him about getting others involved through Old Frontier.
"Chris Smith and others have bent over backwards to help with this project," said Deputy Reeves. On two recent radio broadcasts via WTHO in Thomson, Deputy Reeves has been afforded the opportunity to talk about the "Shop with a Christian" program on a local Christian show entitled, "Cowboys and Knot Heads."
Deputy Reeves, a recently re-dedicated Christian himself, said the new project is one that weighs heavily upon his heart.
"I've always been a believer," said Deputy Reeves. "I decided to rededicate my life to Jesus Christ this past February and I can't tell you how good I feel about that decision. I was missing that day-to-day relationship with Him."
The lawman said the Lord has laid this project on his heart.
He said this is something that he feels needs to be done badly, because there are so many children who won't have much of anything, if he and other Christians don't pitch in to help them.
"We're supposed to help others because we're Christians," said Deputy Reeves. "These children deserve our help, because so many of them can't help themselves. We need to show them God's love. What better way to celebrate Christmas than to do something that will help others - like these children."
Persons wishing to donate money towards the new program, which is tax deductible for those making contributions, may contact the following persons: Deputy Al Reeves at 706-466-1998 or Chris Smith at 706-533-2544.