For those wanting to help bring a ho ho ho of Christmas cheer to families in Marietta, Washington County and destinations around the globe this holiday season, there are several opportunities for giving available.
Washington-Morgan Community Action's Secret Santa program is looking for sponsors and donors to sponsor a child/children from newborn to age 12-or make toy or cash donations for children in that age group.
"We always have more need than we have money to provide," said Catherine Rees, program coordinator.
Those sponsoring a child receive a wish list with three items and clothing sizes.
"You can go out shopping for that child, and we'll distribute (the items) to our families," Rees said.
It typically costs $75 to $100 to sponsor one child, she added. "It could be less or it could be more."
How to help
Washington-Morgan Community Action Secret Santa-Accepting child sponsors, monetary donations and new or gently used toys through Dec. 10; call 373-3745. Checks can be made out to Secret Santa Program and mailed to Community Action at 218 Putnam St., Marietta 45750.
American Legion Auxiliary Unit 389 Toys for Children-Nonperishable food and gifts (no stuffed animals please) for families in the Beverly-Waterford area can be donated at Beverly Citizens Bank, Waterford Commercial & Savings Bank, Beverly-Center and Waterford elementary schools, Appletree Assisted Living and the Beverly village office. For information, 984-2960.
WMOA's Christmas Zoo cash and stuffed animal drive-Stuffed animals donations can be dropped off at The Workingman's Store on Putnam Street in Marietta during normal business hours until Dec. 21. Monetary donations can be sent to Marietta Community Foundation, P.O. Box 77, Marietta, care of WMOA Christmas Zoo Fund or dropped off at the foundation's office on the corner of Front and Putnam streets.
Operation Christmas Child (OCC)-Fill a shoe box with school supplies, toys, necessity items and a note of encouragement for a suffering child overseas and take it to a Washington County collection site Nov. 12 to 19. To find a location, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.
Salvation Army-Area residents can help sponsor a child for the group's annual Angel Tree program, or donate to its 2012 Red Kettle campaign to help provide gifts and food for families
If a cash donation to sponsor a child is made, Secret Santa program's shopping coordinator Wendy Ketelsen and volunteers do all the necessary shopping.
"We are happy to have cash donations of any amount," Rees said.
Donated items should be unspecified new unwrapped toys.
To sponsor a child or make toy or cash donations, call Washington-Morgan Community Action at 373-3745.
The program, which has been operating for 17 years, served 898 children of disadvantaged Washington County families in 2011.
Applications are being taken until Nov. 21 for the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 385's Toys for Children program, said Arlene Pennock, the program's communication and finance coordinator.
The program provides gifts and food boxes for families in the Beverly-Waterford area.
The group is trying to purchase two gifts for each child it's helping, along with gently used toys (no stuffed animals) and games donated by the community, said Pennock.
"Last year, we had 106 children that we provided gifts for," she added. "I would guess it might be more this year because of the way the economy is."
The program is limited to those attending Beverly-Center and Waterford elementary schools or living in the school district.
Program applications can be picked up at the offices at Beverly-Center and Waterford elementary schools, and must be returned to the school offices.
Children can be up to age 18, as long as they are attending school.
"We don't turn down anybody that qualifies. We find a way to get them taken care of," Pennock said.
For information about the unit's Toys for Children program, call 984-2960.
The 22nd season of WMOA Radio's Christmas Zoo cash and stuffed animal drive will begin Nov. 23 in the window of The Workingman's Store on Putnam Street in Marietta.
WMOA radio personality Kyle Wenzel and other on-air talent will promote the drive as they broadcast from the store's window.
"We make an effort to have somebody there seven days a week starting the Friday after Thanksgiving," said Wenzel.
"It's all about helping needy children in the area. ...We make a special effort to make sure that everything we collect stays local in Marietta and Washington County," he added.
The Christmas Zoo drive has collected and donated more than 18,000 stuffed animals since its beginning in 1990, according to John Wharff, station owner.
Stuffed animals donations can be dropped off at The Workingman's Store during normal business hours until Dec. 21.
Monetary donations can be sent to Marietta Community Foundation, P.O. Box 77, Marietta, care of WMOA Christmas Zoo Fund or dropped off at the foundation's office on the corner of Front and Putnam streets.
Those wanting to impact a child's life with the simple shoe box gifts sent all over the world by Operation Christmas Child (OCC) can donate a shoe box filled with school supplies, toys, necessity items and an encouraging note to one of the collection centers that will be open around the county Nov. 12 to 19.
The gifts are sent to a child overseas suffering due to disaster, disease, war, terrorism, famine or poverty, according to the OCC organization.
Once OCC's local collection drive is finished, the filled shoe boxes are sent to collection centers in North Carolina, and shipped to far flung global destinations.
"Some are delivered by hand or by goats or camels," said Robin Johnson, community relations coordinator for a seven-county area that includes Washington County.
"They don't all arrive magically on Christmas morning. They're delivered to very remote locations," Johnson added.
To find a collection location in Washington County, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.