MOULTRIE, Ga. — Amidst all the lights and cheerful songs, it can be hard to remember that Christmas is also a season of giving. One particular Moultrie family has taken that to heart every year and supported those less fortunate in the community by adopting a family to feed.
Hannah and Craig Kirkland are big fans of Christmas. Every year their front yard becomes a winter wonderland of lights and decorations that have become a large part of the Christmas experience here in Moultrie. And every year, they donate non-perishable food and money to a local family in need.
“I don’t want people to feel like they have to donate,” Hannah Kirkland said. “We just do it because we do have people who want to help others, and we have some who cannot. We have some that bring canned goods and that’s their way of giving — they don’t have much, but that’s their way of giving. Others bring monetary donations, and that’s their way of giving. It’s just whatever you want to donate.”
Husband Craig usually dresses up as Santa and passes out plastic candy canes filled with candies to the children while people drop off non-perishable food items for the family that is being “sponsored.”
“Each child that comes to see Santa gets one at no charge whatsoever,” Hannah Kirkland said. “The parents bring cameras and take pictures with the kids and Santa for free. We have between 17 and 18 thousand LED lights in our front yard and a few new decorations each year. We do a little bit every day because it takes about three weeks to get together. We love doing it.
“Our very first guests this year were two older people in their early 90s and 70s and they had their walkers walking through our yard,” she said. “It’s amazing.”
Instead of giving each other gifts for the holiday season, the Kirklands each pick a family to support and then give each other the gift of supporting the other’s chosen family.
“We take donations to help. Every year it’s a different family,” Kirkland said. “Last year it was two families: one had four children and the other had two. This year it’s a single mom of four who was just going to bypass Christmas because they didn’t have enough money left over to celebrate. And that broke my heart because they were going to go without having Christmas this year and I just wasn’t going to have that.”
Some of the kids wished for hoodies. One wished for a pineapple backpack, and another asked for paints.
“They’re not asking for anything extravagant or expensive,” said Kirkland. “We just want to help them out in any way that we can.”
Santa will be appearing on the first two weekends of December – the sixth and seventh, and the 13th and 14th – from 6 to 8 p.m. The family will also be accepting donations during that time as well. “But if anyone wants to come and donate at any time, they can,” said Kirkland.
The event will be held at the Kirklands’ home at 1312 Third Street S.E. They can be reached at (229) 891-0313 for questions.