When South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond released his annual “Scrooges and Angels List” earlier this month, there was one Upstate charity which stood out.
Christmas is for Kids registered in Gaffney uses 99.7 percent of its donations for its charitable cause, according to the Secretary of State Office’s records. Cody Sossamon runs the charity through the newspaper his family has published since 1894, the Gaffney Ledger.
Sossamon said he uses the newspaper to publicize the donation drive and its employees and volunteers do all the work. In fact, he claims there’s only one expense for the nonprofit.
“The only expense that we incur from the charity itself is the $50 fee we pay to the Secretary of State, so that’s how we do it. Volunteers and our business do the rest of it,” Sossamon said. The $50 fee is required for every charity which registers to operate in South Carolina.
“We thought about paying that out of our company but we just decided we needed to show some expense to make it look legitimate,” Sossamon said with a laugh. “I don’t know that anybody would believe the 100% went, but maybe I can get the Secretary to reduce his fee for us next year.”
“It’s certainly a wonderful award and recognition and hopefully that will help our contributions this year,” Sossamon said.
The charity buys $100 gift cards to Walmart and takes kids shopping for their Christmas gifts.
“Depending on how much we raise, that’s how many children we take,” Sossamon said.
The Gaffney Ledger publishes the names of all the donors on the front page. By the Saturday before Christmas, “practically the entire front page is filled up with the names of contributors,” Sossamon said.
“They trust us to do what’s right and to pick children that are deserving and get as many people involved,” he said. “If you ask people to help, most places, they’ll help. Especially here in Cherokee County. We don’t have any problem getting volunteers to help us.”
He said one couple from ‘up north” passing through town read about the program in the paper while stopped at a restaurant and donated $100.
Sossamon said maybe one day he can set up a way for people to donate online, but that would mean less money would go to the kids. For now, they’ll just have to do it the old-fashion way: send a check.
“We look forward to publishing it every year,” Sossamon said. “It’s very heartwarming to see a community that cares that much about the children.”