It's hard to believe, but it's been more than 30 years since a program that provides a Merry Christmas for the less-fortunate families in Fayette County got its start.
The program that would grow into what is now known as Fayette County Caring & Sharing was initiated in the mid-1970s, when Fayette County Health Department Administrators Cara Kelly and Rhea McCarty of the Community Action Center spearheaded a drive that would serve six families.
Today, Fayette County Caring and Sharing, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, helps about 500 needy families during the holidays. That program also uses funds throughout the year to provide needed assistance in various ways.
One constant through the quarter century of the program is the team of Marlys and Bob Hayner. The Hayners have been involved in the program since its birth, and they remain key figures in its implementation each year.
Though many people deserve credit for keeping the program going, it's Marlys who has been seen each distribution day – helping families gather their items and giving them a Christmas hug.
It, however, is truly impossible to note just how widely the arms of the program extend, in terms of donors and volunteers.
County residents of all ages participate in Caring and Sharing, whether it be by providing material and cash donations, preparing the Christmas baskets or distributing them to needy individuals and families.
Christmas is about giving, caring and sharing. Nothing represents the season more than Fayette County Caring and Sharing.