Christmas is a little more than six weeks away, but it's not too soon to start thinking about the season of giving.

The Aiken Standard once again is sponsoring its Community Christmas Card to help students in Aiken County Public Schools not only during the holidays but all year long. All donations – 100 percent of the proceeds – will be divided among the schools to help students who can't afford or need help with eyeglasses, new shoes, school supplies or services.

For a $1 donation, the Aiken Standard will publish the contributor’s name in the Christmas Day issue of the newspaper in its second Community Christmas Card. Last year, 102 readers contributed $2,841.

The deadline to contribute is Dec. 14.

“Aiken is such a generous community,” Aiken Standard Publisher Rhonda Overbey said. “When a need is recognized, I know our readers will step up and give what they can to support Aiken County children.”

All contributions will be set up in an easily accessed fund and used at the discretion of the Aiken County Public Schools' counselors to help their students meet immediate needs.

The Community Christmas Card donations will be there for counselors to use when they see an opportunity to improve a child’s chances of getting the education they deserve. Counselors know when basic needs are met, students learn better.

“School counselors often see needs that school children hide from peers and parents,” Overbey said. “If we can continue to build a fund that allows counselors to meet those needs and clear the path for students to concentrate on their education, I know the students and the school district will reap the benefits. Investing in Aiken County's children is always a good idea.”

Readers can make a contribution for themselves, to honor another person or in memory of a family member or friend. Businesses and organizations can participate, too, making contributions in the names of their employees or members.

To give, please legibly write the names to sign on the Community Christmas Card along with at least $1 per name and mail to the Aiken Standard at 326 Rutland Drive, Aiken, SC 29801 by Dec. 14 to be included in the Christmas Day edition of the newspaper.

To put the donation on your credit or debit card, call the Aiken Standard between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at 803-648-2311.

To make a contribution online, visit

Online contributors should include their names and list the names of their honorees in the comments section on the site.

The Aiken Standard's Community Christmas Card is an inexpensive way for the whole family, area residents and local businesses to give a gift that will keep giving after the holidays.

Let the season of giving begin. Merry Christmas!

Larry Wood covers education for the Aiken Standard.