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Creating the sparkle and magic of Christmas

The students at Dickinson's Trinity High School responded yet again to a call from Dorcas Society to help bring Christmas joy to 34 needy families in the Dickinson area.

The students at Dickinson's Trinity High School responded yet again to a call from Dorcas Society to help bring Christmas joy to 34 needy families in the Dickinson area.

The students collected food and cash donations in its 39th annual drive. The campaign concluded on Friday with the food being blessed during a Golden Mass. The campaign is organized by the Student Council with Rick Gordon as advisor.

"It's the kids' project. I'm the spectator. This is their Mass and I let them run with it. They contribute to the food drive and its their money in the jug wars," said Gordon.

He said the drive started in 1969. It is credited to Gail Hallowell Ebeltoft, who was on the Trinity Student Council, and to her mother, Helen Hallowell, who was a Dorcas member. They organized the first drive and have been involved ever since.

Each class was asked to bring specific items for a balanced box of groceries. For example, the junior high classes provided personal hygiene items such as soap and shampoo, and another class donated canned vegetables. When everything is collected, each item is gift wrapped.

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"They started this because a lot of families don't have the opportunity to buy gifts. Their income and situations don't allow for presents. It's amazing how kids like opening something -- even a can of peas," he said.

The jug wars started about seven or eight years ago.

"We get six old 5-gallon water jugs. Each class has its own jug and the object is to bring spare change to put into the jugs. Whoever brings the most money at the end, we give a class reward," said Gordon. "If you add paper money, that subtracts. If someone drops $12 in change and another person drops $10 in bills, it's back down to $2."

By Friday, the students estimated raising over $1,000. The cash donations are used to purchase age-appropriate gifts. The older children are given gift cards.

During the Golden Mass, all of the food items are brought on stage for a blessing. Saturday, the food was separated into boxes for delivery by the Dorcas Society.

Dorcas President Dorathy Schmidt expressed her appreciation to everyone who supports their charity work, from those who donate food and gift items, to their spouses and the students who help pack and deliver the boxes.

"The kids at Trinity should be given credit. They really help us. They're right there to carry the boxes for us," she said.

"Most of the families have children still at home. There are a few elderly and struggling," added Ebeltoft.

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Dorcas recently collected the toys gathered at The Dickinson Press during its toy drive. Dorcas also was one of three recipients of gifts from the angel tree at Queen of Peace Church.

"The gifts provide the sparkle that's Christmas, the fun, the magic, those unexpected extras. That's what these sorts of things do," said Ebeltoft.

"The thing I like best about Dorcas is that every dollar that comes in goes out. Each member has her own family or families. We go in and visit with and really experience the need. It isn't hearsay," added Schmidt. "That's why this organization is absolutely wonderful."

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