Tears still come to Tammi Carter’s eyes when she thinks back to Christmas 2008.
The Dawsonville mother of two young daughters had been out of work for several months, and business for husband Chuck, who repairs boat docks, had almost vanished.
With Christmas right around the corner, the couple said they “didn’t know what we were going to do.”
“We were worried about making sure I had money to get to work the rest of the week,” Chuck Carter said.
A chance conversation about a local organization that aims to provide Christmas for area families turned the couple’s anxiety to hope for the holidays — though not before a bit of soul searching.
“When things happen, sometimes you just have to swallow your pride,” he said.
The couple contacted KARE for Kids and signed up for holiday assistance unaware of what would happen next.
“We thought the girls would each get a toy or two,” he said.
Instead, the couple describes the Christmas as the “best one ever.”
KARE for Kids partners each year with dozens of individuals, organizations, churches and businesses to provide Christmas for Dawson County children in need.
Through the partnership, KARE for Kids arranged for Santa, atop a fire engine, to deliver presents to the Carter’s home a few days before Christmas.
“We were hesitant at first — wondering what the neighbors would think, but that disappeared when we saw how happy the girls were and the fire engine pulled up,” Tammi Carter said.
The Carters had never needed help before and had no idea where to look when they fell under hard economic times.
“We know there are probably a lot of people just like us that need help, especially with the economy the way it is,” Chuck Carter said.
This weekend, the Carters plan to spend Saturday and Sunday at the Mountain Moonshine Festival in support of KARE for Kids, which sponsors the event.
Proceeds from the festival benefit the group’s annual holiday gift giving project, which provided presents to nearly 700 children last year at Christmas.
“We are so grateful to them for their generosity. We thought it was going to be the worst Christmas for the kids and it turned out to be their best,” Chuck Carter said. “It was our best, too.”
For more information on KARE for Kids, visit the group’s booth near the Pool Room at the 43rd Annual Mountain Moonshine Festival this weekend.