ARC Clients Celebrate the Season by Making and Selling Nativity Scenes

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Cottondale- Just across the street from Cottondale Elementary School sits Branning's garage...and a nativity scene.

"I am out here putting Christ back in Christmas" said Vicki Barber. When the school was forced to take down the nativity scene they used to display for years, Barber spearheaded a community movement, encouraging everyone to set up a scenes in their front yard.

She issued the community challenge Wednesday, but quickly realized she and other supporters faced with an unanticipated problem.

"Unfortunately we've run into a bit of a problem finding nativity scenes. I could not find one in Walmart, I could not find none in none of the stores around here, and I could not find none in Dothan- that I am aware of. In where I looked, I could not find any" Barber told us.

Sneads native, Margaret Pippin pulled over on the side of Highway 90 on her way to Marianna. She didn't know Barber, but had heard of the movement and wanted to share her support. Pippin also said, she was disappointed store were not carrying the displays.

"I had to find mine at a flea market because big name stores quit selling them years ago" Pippin said.

From Marianna to Dothan- Barber said she finally found one shop selling Nativity scenes- the Jackson County ARC Nursery.

The ARC serves people in the Jackson County area who have mental disabilities. The center teaches a variety of life skills such as social etiquette, and wood working.

Don Wilson has been making nativity scenes at the center for years.

"When we get them built and put the fences around them and put up the manger and angel, and the Bethlehem of Jesus. And when we get through with that we're finished with them. And then, we jump on another project and try to get through with as much as we can" Wilson said.

"To them it's a real job" said Frances Henderson, JC ARC Director. "It gives them some quality of life, it makes them proud of what they do. And they just enjoy it so much when someone comes out and purchases an item they have made."

Wilson told us for him, making the nativity scenes was a more than a just a job- it was his way of serving the Lord.

"I am a cowboy for Christ- I am" he said donning cowboy boots and a hat. "I never give up hope. I always keep trying to do my best real, real hard. And try to improve. I love doing my best. That's all I'm gonna say- I work really really hard. Next year I'm going to work hard too."

The nativity scenes cost $70 and can be purchased at the JC ARC Nursery. It's located at 4245 Kelson Avenue in Marianna. All profits go to the organization and help pay clients, such as Wilson, who make the displays for work.

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