Annual Christmas Present Drive Underway
Oskaloosa, Iowa – With Christmas quickly approaching and many families still suffering from economic setback, volunteers ask for your assistance in helping a child obtain a Christmas present this year.
The Oskaloosa Police Association in conjunction with the Oskaloosa Firefighters and Mahaska County Sheriff’s Posse, along with Wal-Mart (who started the program) and Wigg’s Country Store are all sponsors of the program “to help those people who might not be able to provide gifts for their children this Christmas season,” explained Lt. Troy Boston of the Oskaloosa Police Department.
The ornaments are located on a tree at Wal-Mart and have a child’s age and gender along with clothing sizes and toy ideas. The tree usually goes up around Black Friday.
Boston explained to me how the tree works. “As shoppers go by, if they feel they have a little extra to share with a child they pick one of the stocking [ornament], they go throughout the store and they buy the child a few things that might be on that Christmas stocking, or something else. It’s entirely up to them.”
The paper ornament serves a vital function in the process. It helps identify what child you have bought the items for. If you have chosen to buy, you would pay for the items, then walk the bag with the items over to customer service and put the ornament into the bag so those items you have carefully chosen will end up where you intended.
Sometimes people start shopping and find out they might not be able to purchase those items after all. That’s not a problem. Just take the ornament back to the tree and place it there once again, that way another shopper will be able to choose it and it will assure that that child will receive a gift.
The list of children comes from SEIDA when parents request to be put on the list after they have been approved for assistance this winter.
“Without the donations, without the help of the people going out and pulling these stockings off the tree, there’s just no way we could do it,” explained Boston.
“All of the monies we collect for this program stay with this program,” Boston said of the group. If your interested in making a financial contribution for what ever reason, you can stop by the police department at the Mahaska County Law Center with your donation.
The deadline to turn gifts from the tree back in is December 19th. Gifts will be given out the 20th and 22nd of December at the Police Department.