Wow, what a year! In my 25 years of doing this program, this is a first. In 2008, when businesses were closing, people were losing their jobs and losing their homes, we had 375 families that signed up for the program. That is the largest number of families that we have served. Now we have a pandemic and I do not have a clue as to how many families will be requesting help.

On the other hand, businesses, non-profit organizations and churches may be suffering as well. Some businesses may have been able to flourish during this time and others may be still trying to keep their business above water. With all that being said, all I can do is hope and pray that the families that are in need, request help and that anyone that can help, helps.

Again, there are many ways you can help. You can, of course, send a monetary donation. Please make the check payable to the Holiday Gift Giving Program and you can either mail it to me at 413 First St. NE, Little Falls, MN 56345 or drop it off at the Pine Country Bank. Those donations are used to fill tags that have not been shopped for.

If you are a business that has foot traffic, you can display a Christmas tree with our tags on them for individuals to hopefully take and shop for. If you are a business that employs a large number, you may take tags and, for employees that choose to help, they can pick up their tag right there at work. Churches can also put up a tree to put tags on. There are a few churches in Morrison County that already do that and have been doing it for many years and it has been very successful.

The Holiday Gift Giving Program covers all of Morrison County. It helps families in need during the holiday season. It has been going on for 25 years and every year, the communities have come together and made sure that every child has a gift to open on Christmas day. We have also made sure that if they ask for coats, boots, hats and mittens, that those items are purchased first.

If you have any questions or would like me to come and speak about the program to your employees, congregation or non-profit organization, I would be very happy to do that. You can contact me at (320) 630-8497.

We appreciate your support over the past 24 years and for continued support in the future.

Judy Buckingham of Little Falls is the coordinator for the Holiday Gift Giving Program.

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