Wednesday, 07 January 2015 00:00

Sesser, IL businesses, organization hosts first annual Christmas car giveaway

One Sesser family received a great surprise this Christmas but it is not the kind that will easily fit under the tree.       

Allison Nix, secretary of Youth and Family Activity Planners or YAP, said the organization is the brainchild of former interim police chief Paul Carlson.       

"We are a not-for-profit organization that meets every other Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Sesser Church of Christ, where my husband, Michael serves as pastor and treasurer of YAP," she said. "Tim Pierce, owner of Sesser AutoBody, came up with the idea of having an annual Christmas car giveaway. He met with several YAP members and asked us if we wanted to participate. We asked for nomination letters from the Sesser-Valier area and received more than 30 letters. Some of the nomination letters name the same family. We have several families in this area in need of a vehicle. The committee met Tuesday afternoon to select the winner."       

Nix said the organization includes members of varying ages and talents and is open to all.

"We have hosted five events this year, and all are free of charge," she said. "We don't want to exclude anyone. Even a $5 entry charge may be too much for many families and we want everyone to participate. YAP is taking a break until after the holidays. We will resume our meetings in January to plan next year's calendar of events. We have some long-range goals including a community center for Sesser youth. We are also working to establish our 501(C)3 status as a non-profit organization."

The church is located at 110 W. Stamper Ave. in Sesser.       

Nix said this year's events included Sesser's Old Fashion Christmas on Dec. 6, a Halloween fun run, and movie nights.

"We hosted five events in 2014 including a concert at the Sesser Opera House and are supported by 15 local businesses. We have 15 active volunteers who are working to build a better community and have been in operation for almost two years. We are honored to be a part of the Christmas car giveaway and want to keep it going."

For more information, visit www.sesserryap.org.       

Pierce said the 2002 Chevrolet Trailblazer has been completely refurbished and was to the family on Monday, Dec. 22.

"The Christmas car giveaway is based on need, not income," he said. "We did the work on the Trailblazer and Pokey, who runs Sesser Towing and works for Sesser AutoBody, will deliver the Trailblazer on a trailer. We have had the Trailblazer for a while after someone traded it in, added new tires, fixed it up, cleaned it up, did a little touchup work and maintenance. We are even delivering the Trailblazer with a bow on it."       

Pierce said the idea has been in the works for about two years.

"We wanted to start the Christmas car giveaway program a while back but had no knowledge of how to go about it or how to get the word out," he said. "I saw an article about a car giveaway in an auto body magazine and started working on the idea again. Diana Rogers, who is the secretary for Sesser AutoBody, also serves on the YAP board. We have only been working on this idea for three weeks and YAP helped us get the word out. We received at least 25 nomination letters from sponsors who nominated a person or a family in need of a vehicle. They have five judges who will select the winner."


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