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Milton Cummings’ Legacy Extends Beyond Cummings Research Park Boundaries

Milton Cummings founded Christmas Charities Year Round.

By Amy Willige

This article appears in the June 2018 issue of Initiatives Magazine.


As Cummings Research Park moves on from its 55th anniversary year in 2017, we are focusing on the ties that bind us within our greater region. Our Park’s namesake, Milton Cummings, personally believed in his responsibility as a steward of our community to ensure that all of the Huntsville/Madison County community thrived.

Milton Cummings founded Christmas Charities Year Round.

In 1949, Mr. Cummings founded Christmas Charities Year Round to help local families after a boll weevil infestation devastated the area cotton crop. They began with a clothing outreach program to deliver services to low-income families affected by the infestation. Mr. Cummings wanted to assist those families by offering “gently used” clothes and shoes. As stories are told, Cummings would regularly speak to large groups across the region and would always make sure that donation bins for Christmas Charities were located at each of his speaking engagements.

Almost 70 years later, Christmas Charities Year Round prides itself on being the oldest, local non-profit organization serving the Huntsville/Madison County area. They have expanded their services over the years and now offer nine different programs. In addition to clothing, they now also have household items, medical supplies, and even sports equipment for local families.

Christmas Charities’ ‘Look Sharp, Feel Smart’ and ‘Project Pride’ programs provide school supplies, backpacks, and clothing for students of all ages and will be the beneficiaries of donations collected during Cummings Research Park’s June Food Truck Fest on June 12th. The CRP Food Truck fests take place from 11-1 at 990 Explorer Blvd. CRP’s Food Truck Fest November 13 will collect donations to support Christmas Charities’ ‘Operation Believe’ program.

How else can you help this important charity that is connected to our own Cummings Research Park? Volunteers are critical in fulfilling Milton Cummings’ mission for Christmas Charities Year Round. If you would like to give of your time or services, please contact Kristin Hays at kristin.hays@christmascharitiesyearround.org or by calling (256) 837-2373.

Kristin Hays, in the foreground, and Wanda Ashby, in the background at Christmas Charities Year Round, located at 2840 Jordan Lane in Huntsville. Hays is the Executive Director and Ashby is the Assistant Director. (Photo: Amy Willige)