GEORGIA — In October of last year Taylor Reyome voiced her concern about families and animals being hungry or cold during the upcoming winter months. She asked her mother, Billie Reyome, what their family could do to help.
“I assured my nine-year-old daughter that we would make a contribution to the Georgia Food Shelf and reminded her that we purchase and donate the $10 Helping Hands food box every time we go to Hannaford,” Billie recalls.
Taylor’s response, as it was recently was: “That is great but it’s not enough. If we could think of a way to get a whole bunch of people to do something too, then more people and animals can be helped and saved.”
From that original suggestion, Taylor’s Charity Christmas Party was born.
Taylor seems to understand the true meaning of benevolence, “We don’t have to know someone to care about them,” she says.
The charity event strives to serve the community in several capacities, providing much needed assistance to local families and businesses during the holiday season. The generosity of the party-goers helps to feed, comfort and alleviate financial burden for as many local families and animals as possible. It also offers local teenagers the opportunity to help set up, assist and to clean up after the party; providing them with a chance to develop empathy and earn credit towards their required high school community hours.
Taylor’s Charity Christmas Party 2014 will be held Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus hall in St. Albans.
Come all ye faithful
The Reyome family is host for the party with only one requirement of guests, that they bring a donation to one of the four appointed charities. This year, they have chosen the Georgia Food Shelf and the Franklin County Humane Society as business charities.
In addition, two local families are included in their charitable efforts.
A Georgia woman with an established daycare died unexpectedly after a very short battle with cancer. She is survived by her husband, a 14-year-old son and a nine-year-old daughter. For this family, donation suggestions include gift cards to Hannaford, gas cards or local restaurants to help provide its members with a nice Christmas.
Additionally, a St. Albans woman has unexpectedly become the foster parent to her newborn nephew. A single mother with three teenage girls, she feels blessed to be able to care for the little boy but was unprepared for the additional financial responsibility. Suggestions include baby boy items (3 month+), gift cards to Hannaford, clothing stores or gas cards. As her daughters are also adjusting to this new and unexpected little bundle, donations of various gift cards are suggested.
“We hosted the party at our house last December 2013, it was a big success. Taylor and I decided that if we provide great snacks, Christmas music and great company, people are excited about coming and more importantly, donating.” Billie says, “Our house was full of wonderful friends and family who all made very generous donations.”
Due to last years’ success the Reyome family has decided to make Taylor’s Charity Christmas Party an annual event. They also have decided to open the event to more local community members, friends and family, moving the party to the Knights of Columbus to provide more room.
The party will boast an open-house atmosphere, with guests enjoying refreshments, Christmas music provided by a live band, and even an opportunity to have a family photo taken. Billie Reyome is offering to photograph families with Santa Claus or in front of the Christmas tree, at no cost to attendees. All are invited to join in the festivities, being mindful that this is a charity event and donations are required.
A family affair
The Reyome Family members are no strangers to raising funds, and work at bettering the lives of others all year long. Parents Dan and Billie, along with daughters Becka, Harley, Taylor and son, Danny, organized and hosted fundraisers for a local family that was suffering due to a cancer diagnosis of the matriarch. The fundraisers, held as a tea party and garage sale, helped raise more than $3,000 for the recipient family.
Teenagers from the community donated their time setting up, cleaning up, guarding donations and even cooking desserts. Danny Reyome, along with two of his friends, Will Harvey and David Yi, donated items to sell at the garage sale along with money of their own.
“We are average middle-income people with four children, without a lot of extra money to donate so we decided to be creative,” Billie Reyome says of her family. Taylor’s Charity Christmas Party in 2013 reflected that generosity, raising $185 for Vermont National Guard servicemen and women and their families; collecting 11 items for the Franklin County Humane Society; 38 items donated for Toys for Tots; and 169 items donated for the Georgia Food Shelf.
“The best part is seeing the boxes fill up with donations; knowing it will help a lot of people and animals in need. I love knowing that they will be happy and even though I don’t get to see the smiles on the faces of the people we help, I know they must feel happy and cared about,” Taylor says about helping others.
“With Taylor’s passion and vision we are able to offer options to the community to help each other and have fun while doing it,” says her mother.
Billie knows her daughter better than anyone and her loving words say it best: “Taylor has always had a very kind, selflessness way about her. I am so incredibly proud of my daughter. She inspires me so much. This annual giving party is a perfect example. … Taylor was able to open our eyes and hearts by simply reminding us that we can afford to donate time and energy to benefit others.”