At this time, about 80 impoverished children throughout Hernando County need sponsorship for the Christmas season, and residents are being asked to assume the role of Christmas angels, providing the clothes and gifts required to ensure that these kids and teens have a joyous Yuletide holiday.
These kids have been identified through The Matthew Project, a family-run, volunteer-driven organization that, since 2010, has provided Christmas gifts for homeless and impoverished children served through the Hernando County schools’ backpack food program.
“We’ve been asked to provide for 548 kids this year- that’s 108 more than last year,” explained Monte Patterson of Brooksville, coordinator of The Matthew Project. “At this point, we need to find sponsors for 81 kids.”
These sponsors, which can apply to sponsor as many children as they like or perhaps several in one family, will be needed to fulfill the wish lists of these children by Dec. 22.
“A sponsor can expect to spend $100-$150 per child,” said Patterson, also known as the “The Voice of HHS Leopard Football” and the owner of Blinds and Designs. “They will receive the age, gender, clothing, shoe size, and three wishes for each child.”
These kids’ Christmas wishes truly run the spectrum from the bare essentials to those imaginative play items that most children crave.
“Some kids shoot for the moon and ask for the PlayStation systems that their friends have, a tablet, a bicycle,” said Patterson. “Others ask for the very basics, like food, bed sheets, clothing, or even gifts for their families–asking nothing for themselves.”
Since its inception in 2010, The Matthew Project has helped at least 6,000 kids. The project has come a long way since its beginnings, when—acting upon the suggestion of a friend associated with the Hernando school district’s backpack food project—Patterson spearheaded an effort to provide holiday gifts to 85 kids in need.
“I feel that it is a God-given calling to help these kids,” said Patterson. “And every year, even when my family and I have to shop ourselves, we get it done.”
Aside from sponsoring kids directly, people are welcome to make monetary donations to The Matthew Project; at this time, Wal-Mart gift card contributions are greatly needed.
“This year, we are in need of Walmart gift cards for our teens as soon as possible,” said Patterson.
Those able to donate gift cards can bring them to Country Depot in downtown Brooksville or send an email to [email protected].
Those who would like to sponsor a child, or if your business, church, community group/organization, etc., is interested in sponsoring multiple children can email TMP at:
If you would like to make a monetary donation, please make all donations to “The Matthew Project” and mail them to:
P. O. Box 461,
Brooksville, FL 34605.
Patterson also notes that he, the Hernando Leopard Quarterback Club, and Hernando Leopards Football are hosting TURKEY BOWL 3 – THE COMEBACK at Hernando High School at noon on Dec. 16.
The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office will play the Hernando High School football team in their third annual Turkey Bowl.
“This event will benefit local families with food baskets for Christmas meals,” he said.
Guests are encouraged to bring canned or non-perishable food items for admission to this fun event. Vouchers for turkeys and hams will also be accepted.