By Christa Jennings
Senior Staff Writer
Once again this year BridgeWays Coosa County is putting together “Bedtime Bags” for youth in Coosa County, and it is looking to the community for support.
Last year the organization gave Bedtime Bags to the children of many financially at-risk families the week prior to Christmas. The large bags included all new items such as a bed pillow, pillowcase, blanket, pajamas, stuffed animal, storybook, small toy, toiletries, hot cocoa, and candy for each child in a family, ranging from birth through high school seniors.
Thanks to the support from Coosa residents and beyond, BridgeWays was able to provide Bedtime Bags for 15 youth last year. This year BridgeWays is looking to help provide some Christmas cheer to even more children of financially at-risk families and is more than doubling the number, committing to provide Bedtime Bags to 31 children.
School counselors and local churches help the organization identify the families in need, and BridgeWays is once again turning to community support to help provide the Bedtime Bags for youth this season.
Some of the items needed for Bedtime Bags this year include bed pillows; pillowcases; boy’s pajamas in sizes 7/8, 10/12, 14, and 16/18; girl’s pajamas in sizes 5/6, 10/12 and 14/16; men’s pajamas in sizes small, medium and 2XL; ladies’ pajamas in sizes large and extra large; and stuffed animals.
Some other items included in the Bedtime Bags already have the needed quantity donated or committed to donating. BridgeWays has enough toothbrushes, toothpaste and blankets for the bags, and it needs less than five of storybooks and bar soap to fulfill the need for all 31 Bedtime Bags.
BridgeWays Regional Director Lynn Anne Castleberry has provided a way for community members and others wishing to help to sign up online and indicate what they plan to donate for the 2023 Bedtime Bags.
Those interested can sign up at www.signupgenius.com/go/10C094EA4AB2DA6F8C07-45899489-bedtime. The link also allows individuals to see what items have the needed quantity donated and what is still needed.
Donated items will need to be dropped off at the BridgeWays Program Center in Rockford no later than Monday, December 11.
Those who would like to shop online and have the items shipped directly to BridgeWays also have that option. Items can be shipped directly to the Program Center using the following address: BridgeWays; 9922 U.S. Hwy. 231; Rockford, AL 35136.
Additionally, for those who would prefer to make a monetary donation and have BridgeWays do the shopping for needed items, online donations can be made at secure.givelively.org/donate/BridgeWays-Alabama. When donating online, individuals are asked to notate that the funds are for the Coosa Bedtime Bags.
Regional Director Castleberry thanks everyone for helping BridgeWays make this annual program possible for Coosa County families and is appreciative for any and all donations.
In addition to working on Bedtime Bags for this season, BridgeWays Coosa County is also preparing for its annual Christmas Party, part of the next Kids Night Out on December 15. The party will include dinner, games and Christmas caroling throughout Rockford.
The Kids Night Out is a three-and-a-half hour event where youth in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade can participate in activities and socialize with friends, which for the December 15 event includes the Christmas party. Drop-off is at 5:30 p.m. with pick-up at 9 p.m., and the cost is $12 per child.
BridgeWays also has School’s Out Day Camp over the long winter break when youth are out of school. Also for children in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, the Day Camp allows local youth the opportunity to enjoy a broad range of enriching experiences and make new friends, all in a safe and secure environment.
The upcoming School’s Out Day Camp session dates are December 20-22, January 2-5 and January 15. BridgeWays is closed the week of Christmas.
For the Day Camp program, drop-off is at 7:30 a.m. with pick-up at 5:30 p.m., and the program includes breakfast, lunch, snacks, and activities. The cost is $20 per child, per day, and BridgeWays has sibling discounts and scholarships available.
Families can register their children online at bridgewayscoosa.campbrainregistration.com for any of the programs.
For more information on the Bedtime Bags, Kids Night Out, or School’s Out Day Camp, contact Castleberry at 813-363-0495 or firstname.lastname@example.org.