Forty-two years ago the Corinth Civitans first made Christmas a little brighter for a handful of under-privileged local children.

It was Dec. 22, 1978 when four Civitan members – Vic Marlar, Tommy Stine, Jerry Orr and Gerry McDaniel – took three kids on a shopping spree at the Belk Hudson department store in downtown Corinth. The club spent just under $300 that year to ensure those three kids had a better Christmas.

In the same sprit, the local civic club moved towards helping around 20 kids each year at a budget of $2,500. They also begin working with the Corinth and Alcorn County school districts to help identify those most needy youngsters.

In recent years first-graders and kindergartners from Alcorn Central, Biggersville, Corinth and Kossuth elementary schools have been selected to receive a visit from Santa, wrapped toys, a pizza lunch and a shopping spree to several department stores.

As COVID-19 has done to so many cherished events in 2020, the pandemic put a temporary stop to what once was.

“Sharing the love of Christmas has been a part of Corinth Civitans for many years,” said President Tina Bugg. “This year, even though some things had to change, our local Civitans made every effort to ensure it happened.”

With the Kossuth campus at home on distance learning, Bugg said fewer kids were helped this year.

“But it was still magical,” she said.

The Corinth Fire Department helped make the Santa visit extra special during the event earlier this week.

“The arrival of Santa on the fire truck was a great addition since the kids could not have direct contact with him like in years past. The anticipation of who we were waiting on was a great happening as we told the children to watch and wait,” said Bugg. “Once Santa greeted the bus, a sack full of toys along with a to-go lunch from the Pizza Grocery was presented to each child. Then off to Belk’s for a shopping experience.

“It is always a treat to see the kid’s eyes light up when they enter the department store. We take it so for granted, but this maybe their first time,” she added.

Bugg said the event couldn’t happen without the kindness of the fire department, schools, teachers and store employees. She said the Shoe Dept. and Roger’s Supermarket also assisted this year.

“We never know what one simple act of kindness means to the recipient. But as always, we are blessed in return by sharing with others,” she said. “This year has had its challenges, but talk about a community team coming together to make sure something so special happened.”

Staff Writer

Zack Steen was first hired in 1999 as a junior in high school to work in the Daily Corinthian design department. After several years away, he returned in 2014 as staff writer. He's married to the love of his life Brandy and they have 5 wonderful fur-kids.

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