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Florence couple seek to make Christmas brighter for needy kids

December 6, 2018

FLORENCE, S.C. – T.J. and Bridget Baxley are seeking the community’s help during the holiday season.

The Baxleys are the organizers of an annual sponsorship drive dedicated to providing $100 for gifts for children from less fortunate backgrounds. They are seeking sponsors to assist an additional 75 children who have been nominated and approved to go on a shopping spree thanks to the program.

“There are so many kids in this area that need help,” T.J. said. “A lot of these kids live in hotels, have no permanent home, don’t have a mother, don’t have a father, and $100, truthfully, some of these kids that’s all they get for Christmas.”

T.J. added that some of the children didn’t even know what a Christmas tree was.

The way the drive works is that the Baxleys use the funds raised to purchase $100 gift cards from Walmart. Then, volunteers from their daughters’ school, South Florence High School, escort the children around the store to make sure they are not spending more than $100.

“Last year, we sponsored right at 150 kids,” T.J. said. “The year before that – and this is how it all started— me and the wife were sitting at Walmart on a Saturday morning, it was pouring down rain. Just out of the blue, the wife said, “Let’s find five kids to sponsor this Christmas.”

Bridget wanted to take the children on a $100 shopping spree.

T.J. sent out a post on Facebook seeking children who were in need. By the afternoon, he had received over 50 responses, and some of those responses involved families with 2 to 5 children.

“It was so hard for us to pick five out of the ones we received that quickly,” T.J. said. “I have a lot of business connections. We own Baxley Tire. We had the golf course out here in Claussen for a while. So, we threw something out on Facebook, and we ended up sponsoring every kid that first year. I think there were 60-some kids that first year.”

He said the group is still seeking nominations of children in need.

For more information about how become a sponsor or to nominate a child, contact the Baxleys by email at bridgetbaxley@yahoo.com or by phone at 843-687-9658.

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