Many have heard the phrase “Christmas in July,” but it was Christmas in August for many area teachers Saturday during the 10th annual Teachers Luncheon at Beulah Baptist Church. Thanks to all the generous donations and a lot of hard work, those teachers are starting the year off right.

Volunteers from Beulah Baptist Church began planning this event last year and their hard work and dedication paid off. The group raised more than $11,200 in door prizes to deliver to teachers. These donations came from a long list of sponsors from around the area.

Just prior to the luncheon, table hostesses created an eclectic display of uniquely decorated tabletops for this year’s event.

“Each table hostess came up with their own theme, their own decorations, their own dishes,” event director Dottie Carnes said. “I’m always amazed at their ideas and creativity. We’re so blessed.”

The table hostesses enjoyed decorating the tables and most were already looking forward to next year’s luncheon before this year’s luncheon had ended.

Randall McClendon and Jerry Lynch entertained the crowd with a special musical presentation. After lunch, Vicki Carter delivered a speech explaining the importance of teachers in her life.

After Carter’s heartfelt and upbeat speech, Carnes and pastor Tim Davis began naming door prize winners. There were enough door prizes for each teacher to receive multiple door prizes. Following door prizes, members of Beulah Baptist’s youth group began bringing in teacher-requested items.

“Our star of the day is the Beulah Baptist Youth Group,” Carnes said. “They have done a super job so far and we are fixing to really work them.”

The teens hauled in printers, cases of bottled water, paper towels, sporting goods, brooms, mops, reams of paper, coolers, mugs and more.

While this benefit luncheon does a great deal to aid teachers in the community, it is a labor of love for Carnes who is already looking forward to next year’s luncheon.

Each year Carnes sets out to supply as many teachers as possible with the needed supplies to begin the school year. She goes door-to-door from one business to the next asking for donations for teachers. Carnes reaches out to businesses as far away as Georgia to bring the annual luncheon to fruition.

“It’s what we do,” Carnes said. “All summer we ask for gifts and we ask for donations.”

While this luncheon benefits teachers from several schools including Tallassee, Dadeville and Eclectic, it was originally created for the teachers in the Reeltown community.

“Thank you, Beulah Baptist Church, Dottie Carnes and her event facilitators for providing Christmas in August to some local educators and staff,” RES librarian Tonja Henderson said. “For the 10th year in a row, they have provided much needed school-related gifts, food, fellowship and entertainment.”