Sharing Tree, food baskets under way

The Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District will once again conduct the Christmas for Kids Sharing Tree and Sweet Home Emergency Ministries will coordinate the Christmas Food Basket program in an effort to help the less fortunate.

Persons or families needing assistance for food or those who wish to have a child’s name placed on the Sharing Tree need to fill out a request form, which can be picked up at the SHFAD office, 1099 Long St.

The forms for food will be forwarded to SHEM, which will prepare food baskets for delivery in time for Christmas dinner. Persons wishing to make cash donations for food baskets may do so at the SHEM food bank, 1040 Long St. A donation of nonperishable food and clothing is also welcome.

Cash donations to the Sharing Tree toy program may be made at the SHFAD office. Cash donations will be used to purchase toys and needed clothing for local children.

The names of children and families needing assistance will be placed on the Sharing Tree at the fire department during the second week of November. There will be another tree placed at the high school Christmas Bazaar following the Christmas Parade on Dec. 1 for that day only.

In 2006, more than 500 children and 200 families had a need for toys, clothing and food, Fire Chief Mike Beaver said. This year, officials are anticipating an equal or larger need in the community.

Anyone wanting to help with the Sharing Tree is asked to go the Sharing Tree, located at the fire department, and choose a name tag from the tree and then buy that child a gift, wrap it and return it to the Sharing Tree by Dec. 8.

The names that are left on the Sharing Tree will be taken by the firefighters who will purchase gifts to fill these requests. This year, as in the past, those requesting gifts will be asked to pick them up at the fire department Dec. 12-14 after being contacted by phone.

“There’s an increasing number of generous people in our community who have requested to not only provide gifts for children but for a whole family,” Beaver said.

“If you would like the option of ‘adopting a family’ this Christmas season and purchasing gifts for an entire family, contact the fire department at 367-5882. We will have family groups available for you.

“These two great community programs continue to provide a glimmer of hope at the holiday season for hundreds of less fortunate children and families in Sweet Home. Without the unselfish support of the citizens of Sweet Home, that glimmer of hope would be a little dimmer.

“Please support the Christmas for Kids Sharing Tree and Sweet Home Emergency Ministries. The gift of giving is priceless. Thank you for your continued support of these two great community programs.

“Happy holidays.”