HOPE’s ‘Giving Tree’ in need of sponsors; Christmas Shop open

ADDISON COUNTY — Officials at Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) are trying to recruit some more elves for Santa in the run-up to Christmas.
Jeanne Montross, HOPE’s executive director, stressed the organization’s holiday gift programs are well under way. Chief among them is the “Giving Tree” program — which features Christmas trees hung with special tags at many local businesses. Each tag bears the age, gender, gift wish and reading interest of a local low-income child. Individuals and businesses can pick up a tag from HOPE or a local host business, go shopping for a few modest gift items for the child, and then bring the items — unwrapped — to HOPE or the host business.
HOPE officials are a little concerned that not as many businesses are asking for tags this year, and that some hosts are requesting fewer tags than in previous years. They are hoping that each child will receive a modest gift, a book and an article of warm clothing. The Giving Tree program provides these, with the help of the community, to children who would otherwise receive nothing on Christmas morning.
Meanwhile, the county’s Christmas Shop is preparing to serve low-income families who do not participate in the Giving Tree program. Families with young children (12 and under) must make an appointment for a visit to the nonprofit enterprise. While the Christmas Shop is based in HOPE’s Community Services building on Boardman Street, it is run by a separate organization called “Volunteers for Community Action.”
Qualifying families are being taken through the shop, at a clip of around three per half-hour, on weekdays through Friday, Dec. 7. Volunteers who gather, assemble, and oversee the distribution of a wide selection of donated and purchased toys and clothing staff the shop.
Each Addison County child is allowed to take a pair of pants and a shirt; a hat and a pair of mittens; a coloring book; two books; a stocking-stuffer; and one toy. Older children can also have a notebook and a pencil.
The shop also offers some used clothing and other utilitarian items — such as blankets and towels — for kids and adults.
For more information about HOPE’s programs and to make an appointment for the Christmas Shop, call 388-3608.

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