Hundreds receive free Christmas gifts through local woman's efforts

Connie Cashion poses with just a few of the items she gave away to Callaway's families in need during her annual free Christmas event at the John C. Harris Community Center in Fulton. Cashion, better known as "Miss Connie," collects clothes, games, hygeine products, furniture and other items year round to give away to those in need, and began holding a larger giveaway at the end of the year to commemorate the holiday season.

Connie Cashion poses with just a few of the items she gave away to Callaway's families in need during her annual free Christmas event at the John C. Harris Community Center in Fulton. Cashion, better known as "Miss Connie," collects clothes, games, hygeine products, furniture and other items year round to give away to those in need, and began holding a larger giveaway at the end of the year to commemorate the holiday season. Photo by Dean Asher.

“Miss Connie” Cashion wears many hats in Callaway County, whether she’s helping Anne Erbschloe with The Soup Kitchen or collecting donated clothes, toys, furniture and more to drive around and deliver year-round to the county’s homeless or those in need.

But on Friday, she donned a Santa hat and made sure 345 people had a Christmas worth remembering.

Cashion gave almost two large storage sheds worth of items, collected throughout the year for her other philanthropic endeavors, to low-income families at her annual Christmas give-away.

Families gathered at the John C. Harris Community Center in Fulton, where they received a gift bag full of treats and a free meal before being allowed in the adjoining room where the gifts waited. Parents were at first allowed to take as much or as little as they needed before kids could enter and take items to give as gifts to parents, grandparents and others — and eventually a gift for themselves.

“My idea is don’t wait for somebody to help you,” said Cashion. “You should be taking your excess and helping somebody else. We’re a nation of excess, we have way too much stuff. My idea is to take your stuff, clean it up and help your neighbor. We’ll help somebody else with it.”

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