Santa's helpers wrapping giftsSanta’s helpers don’t all work at the North Pole — several live right here in Stark County.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Santa’s helpers don’t all work at the North Pole — several live right here in Stark County.
RSVP+ volunteers have been wrapping the Christmas gifts donated to the Needy Kids Christmas Program.
Sponsored by Stark County Social Services, the program sent out a call for individuals and businesses to donate items of clothing or toys.
Social Services administrative officer Linda Brew said more than 1,000 gifts will be distributed to more than 350 children, plus elderly individuals, who are registered with the program.
In previous years, the staff did the wrapping. This year, volunteers stepped forward to help.
“This is great — look how much wrapping this is,” Brew said.
“We started this a long time ago when one of the stores asked if they could do a Christmas tree,” she added.
Various businesses participate, but the intent is the same — to make sure children and the elderly have a gift for Christmas.
“This may be the only gift the kids get or may be a supplement to the one or two the family can afford,” Brew said. “As you can see, we have snowsuits, we have coats, we have a variety.”
The parents sign a release, listing the child’s age, size and if there is a specific need.
“That’s where they tell us if the need coats or gloves or boots — at least one clothing item and one toy — that’s our little rule,” she said.
During her volunteer shift, RSVP+ volunteer Irene Stieg tried to fit a snowsuit into a box, until she settled on a bag. Saying she’s wrapped a few gifts in her lifetime, she added, “I enjoy doing it.”
RSVP+ director AJ Hitchcock had no problem filling the request for gift wrappers.
“Linda Brew really knows the drill — she’s made our job relatively simple,” she said.
The gifts will be distributed on Monday and Tuesday, with help from volunteers from the Best Friends Mentoring Program.