Katy Warner Christmas Fund | Guest column | Sarah Sabrina Wilt

As so often happens to me, the holidays have pounced and I am running to catch up. So, here I am, writing the opening column for the annual Katy Warner Christmas fund drive, it is a couple of days before Thanksgiving, and you will be reading this while contemplating your leftover turkey and stuffing. What can I say to keep this drive fresh and interesting?

We have a tradition here on this island of sharing our good fortune. The Katy Warner Christmas fund is a means by which we help share Christmas with any neighbors who have come up short. A refreshing aspect to the Katy Warner Christmas Fund is that we are focused locally and we can see what a difference our participation can make.

One hundred percent of your gift goes directly to your neighbors. There are no administrative costs, no infrastructure, nothing but total charity. The Bainbridge Committee leads the charge, and we need help from all of you to ensure that island kids all have a gift for Christmas, and a holiday meal to enjoy with their families.

A brief overview of the Christmas fund is in order here. Founded many years ago, the Bainbridge Committee prepared Christmas baskets for Bainbridge families, by collecting donations. Walt Woodward at the Review had Katy Warner for many years write a weekly column acknowledging receipt of donations while at the same time never revealing donors’ names. After Katy’s death, the fund was given her name and the baton was passed to Becky Fox Marshall and then eventually to Joan and Sarah Wilt. Joan passed away unexpectedly in 2008, leaving this relay leg in Sarah’s hands.

The Bainbridge Committee has volunteers working like busy Santa elves to get baby sleepers, food, gift certificates and such to fill needy family Christmas baskets. The Review runs the column from Thanksgiving into January to keep you informed of the fund progress. You will find not only the column detailing, in a miscellaneous way, the collections received, as well as a front page “jar” that will give a fund summary for easy access each week.

We have three donations unacknowledged from last year’s fund, as the donations were received after we’d gone to print on our last column. In keeping with our tradition of anonymity, we’d like to acknowledge the receipt of $25, along with a note to Sarah from a woman who misses chatting with Joanie after church. Thank you for your kind words and I’m sorry you were out of town at that time. We would have loved sharing memories with you.

The two other donations don’t require anonymity, as they are not from individuals. Twenty-five dollars was contributed to the fund from the Seabold Community Club and $500 came in from the Lockheed- Martin Employees’ Fund; both are regular contributors and we appreciate your loyalty.

We hope that old friends will continue their generous involvement in the Katy Warner Christmas Fund and that those who are new to our island, or just new to our tradition, will feel welcome and inspired to join us in this annual island drive.

Big or small or anywhere in between, all donations are welcome and very much appreciated. Let us throw down the challenge to make this year’s fund drive, despite the rough economy, one of the best in our history. Thank you.

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