The “new” Guilford County Board of Commissioners has only been in existence for less than a week but the commissioners are already planning big things by Christmas.

The new programs were outlined in an email sent to several county government leaders on Friday, Dec.11. Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said the new initiatives to help county residents, renters, day cares and schools, came out of conversations he’d had with new Commissioners Carly Cooke and James Upchurch, as well as talks with longtime Commissioners Kay Cashion and Carolyn Coleman.

Each of those Democratic commissioners will either individually or jointly oversee one of the new programs.

One thing on the list is a “Holiday Food Drive/Distribution.” This will put all the commissioners to work helping distribute donated food to the needy two days before Christmas.

“Chairman Alston would like to hold a County sponsored food drive and distribution – with food collection beginning on Monday, December 14 through Sunday December 20, followed by a coordinated distribution pick up on Wednesday December 23,” states the Friday, Dec. 11 email from Guilford County Clerk to the Board Robin Keller to top county leaders. “The Chairman’s goal is to collect enough to distribute to 2 thousand families. Logistically, we are working on the collection drive and will make efforts for a distribution plan, time permitting. “

Alston said Friday evening that he was also working with Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers to see that the commissioners also deliver some toys to needy families that day.   The Sheriff’s Department has been holding a “Fill The Bus” toy drive this month to collect presents for kids in need.

According to Keller’s email, her office will be reaching out to various county departments to help coordinate the food drive. Alston has asked commissioners to hold open the date of Wednesday, Dec. 23 for food distribution.

Another new initiative will the “Rental Assistance Program.” Alston said on Friday that this program is based on ideas from the new county commissioners, Cooke and Upchurch. He added that those two will be overseeing this program. Alston has asked county staff to investigate the possibility of using federal coronavirus funds for the new Rental Assistance Program.

Alston also instructed county staff to lay the groundwork for county assistance to Child Care Assistance/Learning Centers.

Alston also noted that there will be a new effort for the county to work with Guilford County Schools to get specific information regarding their funding requests for federal relief dollars.