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A child's Christmas awaits your help


   There are plenty of excellent opportunities to help out our neighbors who may need some help to make sure their kids' Christmas is merry.
   Word is that there are many names on the list of young children in need this year, but compared to past years, fewer people have stepped forward to get toys and items for these kids.
   The Kiwanis Club's Operation Rudolph has been the organizational center of the local Christmas charity program for over 20 years. Again this year, they're hard at work.
   Darryl Smith heads up Kiwanis' effort. He said there is an especially vital need for gifts for older kids, ages 7 through 14 or so. Obviously most think about young kids, preschoolers, when they're contributing gifts. Consider gifts for children a bit older.
   A good way to help the Kiwanis take care of all their Operation Rudolph needs is to make a direct donation. The Operation Rudolph "elves" will make sure needed items are bought with it. If you have no idea what a 12-year-old girl might like, go the donation route. Bring your donation to the 509-J School District office on Buff Streets, where Smith works, or to Mike Ahern at Coldwell Banker-Dick Dodson Realty.
   When it's all said and done, the local Kiwanis Club will deliver toys and presents to more than 500 kids in Jefferson County, including Warm Springs. That's a lot of smiles on Christmas Day, a lot of families given a small Christmas miracles.
   Smith is quick to acknowledge all the help when it comes to getting names of the needy, getting presents, getting them wrapped, and getting them delivered.
   Most of the names come from the local State Department of Human Services office in Madras. They make sure needy families make the lists, and help insure that some families don't get several presents from different charities, while others get none.
   Toys for Tots is a key partner. It's businesses allowing toy drop boxes at their locations. Smith said the quality of toys has greatly increased with the Toys for Tots program. (Check out the ad on page 8 to find locations.)
   At the wrapping factory at the fairgrounds, the Kiwanis get tons of help from several high school clubs, teams and organizations, plus other adult groups.
   So, do you part. Get some items to the Toys for Tots drop boxes. Contribute to Operation Rudolph, check with the chamber or contact your churches for other ideas, and there are plenty of names left on the Sharing Tree at Culver Market -- find a way to help.
   No kid should see Christmas come and go without the joy of receiving a gift. Don't you agree?