Giving Tree program gets underway
The Blaine Chamber of Commerce is once again sponsoring the Giving Tree program this Christmas season to help bring Christmas to needy children in the area. The seven-year-old program has grown larger each year, and this year is expected to address the needs of as many as 500 children in the area by the time the gifts are delivered the week of December 12.
The program solicits gifts from the public with “giving trees” stationed around Blaine, Christmas trees decorated with gift tags that give information about an anonymous child. The sponsor chooses one or more tags and buys two articles of clothing and a toy for each. Gifts are to be no more than $30 and are to be wrapped and delivered with tags attached by December 10 to the Stafholt Good Samaritan Center in Blaine, a chamber member and the business that takes primary responsibility for administering the program.
“We’ll easily end up with about 500 children in this year’s program. That’s 1,500 gifts,” says the energetic Laurie Hart, one of the three women who have been the core of the program and a Stafholt employee for the last six years. “We keep track of it all, which is a big job. We are also seeking cash donations because there are inevitably tags left unclaimed or left incomplete.”
Some of the families, she said, have as many as 14 children, “and you don’t want to leave one or two of them out. We see that coming and with enough financial support from the community are able to complete the buying for a given family.”
Applications for families who may qualify for the program are due by Friday, November 19 at Stafholt, and are available there and at the food bank, 500 C Street, and at the Family Service Center above the middle school gym on H Street. “Every effort will be made to accommodate families who cannot apply in time,” said Stafholt administrator Kari Johnson-Dick, “but we can’t guarantee anything because we need time to organize this. It’s a lot of work.”
There is a need for volunteers, Hart said, and people who can donate time during the week of December 10 are encouraged to call Stafholt at 332-8733.