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Cities' holiday gift drives bring joy to area's children

Staff writer

Many Marion County charities are gearing up to help provide a happy Christmas for children in low-income families.

Applications are still available for gifts in all of the counties’ cities except Peabody, but deadlines are approaching.

Hillsboro

Hillsboro has two Christmas gift programs, one for children and another for seniors.

Hillsboro State Bank coordinates the Giving Tree program for children.

Amy Plett with the bank said applications for the Giving Tree are available at Hillsboro State Bank and must be filled out and returned no later than Nov. 29. To qualify, families must reside in the USD 410 district.

Individual children’s tags will be available to pick up around Nov. 30.

Donors can choose a tag listing needs of a specific child and shop for that child, bring gifts to the bank to be given to any needy child, or donate money to an account used by bank employees to purchase gifts for children whose tags were not picked up.

Children enrolled in the program also get a gift or two from beneath the tree at the bank.

“We notify families and gifts are to be picked up by Monday, Dec. 23,” Plett said.

Peabody

Emma Charles, volunteer for Peabody’s gift program, said gift applications were already due but holiday food applicants can still apply.

The trees with cards were up around Nov. 11. One is at Vintage State Bank, another at Peabody Township Library. Other tree locations will be added as needed, depending on the number of families. A tree will be present at the annual Giving Tuesday event as well.

Drop-off locations will include the bank, churches, and possibly other locations as well, Charles said.

Although items such as clothing are listed, the bank encourages people to pick up other things as well.

“We’re hoping every kid gets at least one fun gift,” Charles said.

The gifts will be delivered to the families before Christmas.

“We’re going to have a wrapping party Dec. 18,” Charles said.

People interested in helping wrap gifts can call the bank.

Goessel

The Christmas Giving Tree for the Goessel area is coordinated by Loretta Weims.

“We have applications at different locations in Goessel,” Weims said.

Locations include Alexanderwohl, Goessel, and Tabor Mennonite churches, elementary and high school offices, Goessel city office, Crossroads Credit Union, and Citizens State Bank. Applications are due Nov. 25, and should be turned in to the elementary or high school, a participating church, or Crossroads Credit Union.

“The tree will be up at the credit union this year,” Weims said. “We alternate our tree between the credit union and the bank.”

Donors will be able to pick up a child’s tag starting Dec. 3. Gifts need to be wrapped and returned to the credit union by Dec. 13.

Goessel Ministerial Alliance will deliver gifts and food boxes to the families during the week before Christmas.

Last year the Giving Tree helped more than 30 children.

Each family that gets children’s gifts also gets a food box.

Marion

Community Christmas applications, due Nov. 19, are available at City Hall.

Trees with cards listing children’s gift suggestions will be in Central National Bank, Tampa State Bank, and Marion National Bank. Trees will also be located in retail stores. Gifts should be brought unwrapped to Marion Parks and Recreation in City Hall before Dec. 19.

“It allows for us to check some things and make sure there are no duplications,” Margo Yates said.

Parents pick up gifts and wrapping paper Dec. 19 at Marion Community Center.

Florence

Florence has a community gift program operated by the city. Donations can be dropped in a collection jar on the counter at City Hall, city clerk Dana Gayle said.

City employees select a needy family and shop for them before Christmas. If enough money is donated, two families will be selected.

There is no formal application process, but city employees know which families are likely to need help, Gayle said.

Gifts are delivered Christmas Eve.

Safehope

Safehope, a domestic violence and sexual assault crisis intervention program serving Marion, McPherson, and Harvey counties, also has a project to provide Christmas gifts to children in families the organization serves.

Besides gifts, gift cards from Dillons stores are sought.

Safehope asks that gifts be donated by Dec. 10 but will be accepted after that date as well.

People interested in donating can call Safehope at (316) 283-0350 for more details.

Last modified Nov. 14, 2019

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