The Christmas 2006 campaign is underway and will be helping area families provide a better Christmas for the children of the Morrisville-Eaton school district.
Organizer Judy Parker is quick to deflect the praise for this service project to the many volunteers and the community for their support.
The program started 21 years ago when Phyllis Jones, the school nurse at the middle/high school, contacted Parker and suggested a collection of used clothing that could be repaired by the home economics classes and then wrapped and distributed to families that could use them. Over the years the project grew to include used toys and evolved to include all new items that can be given as gifts.
As the project grew, Parker became the one constant. Each year, she sends out dozens of letters requesting donations. The money is used to purchase toys, games, books as well as mittens and hats.
Two volunteers, Judy Griese and Joan Zazzara, shop all year long for items at great prices so the donation money can be stretched. Parker describes their dedication to the project as above and beyond the expectations. Along the way, city churches have seen the work that is done and have adopted the project by making annual donations. Other civic groups and individuals send donations annually as well. The response from the community has been incredible. Students at Edward R. Andrews elementary school collect stocking stuffers.
An outgrowth of the project comes from Julie Taylor's fifth grade class, which collects and wraps over 50 presents for the senior citizens at Crouse Community Center who may not have family. Parker said that the spirit of giving is what the holiday is all about. She put the purpose of the program in perspective when she said, "How would you like to be the one to tell your five-year old that Santa is not coming this year?"