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Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014

Optimists helped nearly 200 children this Christmas

Monday, December 29, 2003

Thanks to the Brazil Breakfast Optimist Club, needy children in the county had at least a few gifts under the tree.

Marion "Sarge" Eveland, a well-known member of the club, said that this year's Clothe-A-Child drive was more successful than normal.

"We got 179 kids at last count," he said. "Kids from all over the county -- Center Point, Clay City, Brazil."

Though most of the children showed up to get their gifts, some couldn't make it for one reason or another. Eveland and other Optimists then took it upon themselves to track these children and their families down, though some of their attempts proved fruitless.

"There was one family who didn't show up," he said, "and it turns out their little baby was in the hospital. We had another family... I had a heck of a time finding these guys... they had a weird address. I put 42 miles on the truck one day trying to track this address down. I called the police station, then the post office, all kinds of places. I went to Knightsville, Brazil, Harmony, and I never did find them that day.

"Well, I finally called Northview High School and talked to a counselor, who said she'd get the girl I was looking for and give her the clothes," he continued. "I didn't want the girl to be embarrassed, so the counselor said that she'd call her to the office and even take her home. It was real nice of her."

Eveland wasn't the only one with problems. He said that club member Kenneth Turner had a delivery to make that could still be in question.

"I don't know if Ken ever found those people," Eveland said with a laugh.

Eveland said that this year's figures are up from last year's, with the club pulling in and spending nearly $10,000.

"And we'll probably help a few more before the year's out," he said. "We're pretty much done with if for the year, but sometimes you'll get a real destitute family that's having a lot of trouble because of a fire or something, and we'll come through for them."

The program works with the Clay County Benevolence Ministry, according to Eveland, which provides the club with a list of names to help.

"They give us names and we buy clothes for them," he said. "Toys for Tots gets all the toy referrals, and we get all the clothes, so it all works out."



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