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Organizing Christmas Store is a massive undertaking

When Berni La Casse took over as organizer of the Christmas Store in Mathews last year, she had no idea what she was getting herself into.

She’s now six months into heading up the charitable project, which annually provides Christmas for more than 225 needy families in Mathews, and she said she doesn’t understand how the store’s founder Peggy Hudgins, who retired last year, did it for three decades.

“It’s a huge responsibility,” said La Casse. “It’s a community event, and we work 12 months a year to collect all the items and organize everything.”

Many of the volunteers who help out with the Christmas Store have been doing it nearly as long as Hudgins, said La Casse, and while they are committed to the work, they could use a younger cadre of volunteers to continue the effort.

“The volunteers will do it until they drop because they love it,” she said. “But we need the next generation to carry this on for the next...

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