Editor's Note: Each year, the Times Record selects a local nonprofit to be the beneficiary of the Community Christmas Card, a fundraising effort that allows readers to participate and see their names published in the Christmas Eve edition. This year's nonprofit was the Hamilton House, which provides forensic services and advocacy to child victims of abuse and their family members. Section C of today's edition includes the names of the Community Christmas Card donors who gave to the Hamilton House.

Merry Christmas, readers!

What an amazing gift you have given to a local organization that helps so many children. The Times Record chose the Hamilton House in Fort Smith as the beneficiary of the annual Community Christmas Card fundraiser because of the great impact the organization has on this area.

Together, readers donated $15,456. (That number will rise when late donations are counted, and a file of late donors' names will be published in an upcoming edition.)

Those funds will help the Hamilton House continue to ensure abused children get the help they need. Prior to Hamilton House’s opening, abused children were taken to the police station or the Department of Human Services to tell their story of abuse, and afterward, they were required to receive medical exams in another location, one that might be frightening and painful for the child.

The Hamilton House provides a safe, child-friendly environment where abused children can be interviewed by law enforcement. Medical exams can take place while children watch Disney movies. In addition, Hamilton House provides advocates who work with local schools and shelters to give assistance to children and their families. They work with foster families and hold classes in parenting training. Their experts go to trial to testify on a child's behalf. Their resource center provides clothing, life skills training and other help for those in need.

Hamilton House gets no funding other than grants, donations and fundraisers, so the donations our readers have made through the Community Christmas Card will make a big difference. The Hamilton House folks hope to use the funds toward the purchase of furnishings for the law enforcement room and the purchase of a colposcope, a machine that is used for non-invasive medical exams. (Currently, only one hospital in Arkansas has one.)

In 2017, Hamilton House helped 835 child victims, according to Executive Director Jackie Hamilton.

If you missed any of our articles on the Hamilton House, beginning with our Community Christmas Card kickoff story Thanksgiving Day, take a moment to go back and read all about this worthy organization. We believe you will be blown away by all the amazing things this group does for local children. There are the upcoming "Super Saturday" events planned for foster parents; the coordination with local and federal law-enforcement groups; the educating of school districts employees to recognize signs of abuse; and so much more. Arkansas first lady Susan Hutchinson even paid a visit to the Hamilton House recently and added her own handprint to the wall of "Helping Hands" at the facility. 

Take a moment today to look through the section of names. You're bound to see your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors there, or maybe even find your own name. Many donations were made in honor of a deceased loved one. No matter the case, each donor played a part in helping the Hamilton House and its efforts to help local children.

Thank you, again, readers. You've done a great thing this Christmas for a great organization. And thank you to Jackie Hamilton and the staff at Hamilton House for all they do for local children.

Merry Christmas!