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Holiday decoration drive in Sanford brings hundreds of donations for flood survivors

As the holiday season draws near, people devastated by May’s flooding can get their hands on holiday decorations after two Mid-Michigan friends put together a decoration donation drive.
Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 3:44 PM EDT
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SANFORD, Mich. (WJRT) - As the holiday season draws near, people devastated by May’s flooding can get their hands on holiday decorations after two Mid-Michigan friends put together a decoration donation drive.

Barb Hammond and Fran Stafford are the two who put it together and they said it has been months in the making.

“I was driving down one of the streets in Midland and the devastation, it just blew me away, maybe like a bomb had exploded," Hammond said. "And I seen a lady hauling out tubs out to her road so I stopped and talked to her and she shared how she had lost everything in the flood.”

Hammond said she told this story to her best friend, Fran, and everything took off from there.

“At that point I had been trying to figure out what to do with the Christmas village my mother and I used to put up together," Stafford said. "She died about three and a half years ago and it just wasn’t the same for me and I was trying to figure out what should I do with the village. So then I thought, I know, I’ll donate it to flood victims. And it’s a village for a village to help them get back to some normalcy for the holidays.”

So the idea was born to have people donate holiday decorations for flood victims and distribution began Monday morning.

“The tears were flowing this morning in this place and we are touching people’s lives,” Hammond said.

Over the last few weeks, the community had donated so many decorations that it filled two churches in Sanford.

“It’s been absolutely phenomenal," Safford said. "I can’t believe how many people have jumped in and donated to this cause and it’s been wonderful.”

While it’s not drywall or something that will help rebuild people’s homes, it does provide a sense of normalcy for flood victims as the holiday season gets closer.

Anyone who needs decorations is welcome to visit the distribution sites.

Distribution is planned to continue both Tuesday and Wednesday of this week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. There are two locations, with one at the Abundant Life Apostolic Church in Sanford and the other is right across the street at the Meridian Church of God.

“If you need a reality check over the holidays, come on and see this stuff," Hammond said. "Like no we don’t even care if you take anything or not. When it comes to the generosity of people and see what people are so generous in doing, it’s, it’s amazing. It really is.”

Stafford and Hammond said that many businesses nearby helped out with this and they received donations from across the state and even from Ohio.

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