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Public Relations

Caller.com Dec. 22, 2009 by Katherine Rosenberg

Local businesswoman helps save Christmas

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 CORPUS CHRISTI —

    It was nearly the Christmas party that wasn’t.
But on Tuesday more than a dozen families who live at the Salvation Army’s family shelter were treated to a sit-down dinner party just as they have for more than 30 years.

The Salvation Army initially had called the party off because of a lack of volunteers and resources. But that was before local business owner Georgeanne Gasaway heard about the problem. She called the Salvation Army just before Thanksgiving to ask how she could help out with the party. When Jesse Elizondo, director of social services for the Salvation Army, told her there wouldn’t be one, she disagreed.

Gasaway recruited friends and associates to help make it happen.

“I think it’s the biggest blessing I’ve ever been a part of,” Gasaway said. “We’re going to do our best to make it the best evening of their lives.”

Hazel Lytle, whose late husband, Horace, started the annual event decades ago, said it was fantastic to see such generosity and the enjoyment from those attending.

“Everyone looks so happy,” she said. “They are comfortable and at ease — it’s exactly what you want to see.”

The long-standing event featured a buffet-style dinner in years past, but Gasaway decided to make the event more formal. With donations from other business owners, she was able to hire a local catering company to provide the meal and even got a florist to donate corsages for the mothers to wear.

“I didn’t want them to have to go through another line like they do every day — they get to sit and have us serve them,” said Gasaway, who added she remembers what it was like to wonder if she would be able to pay rent or bills each month.

“And with the corsages ... now when the kids look at their moms they can see them in a different light.”