LADD — “Making ends meet is a tremendous challenge for many families in our area as they face job layoffs, a poor economy and rising costs,” said Jan Martin, director of Project Success of Eastern Bureau County. “Looking ahead, we foresee a stressful holiday season for many, and in response to the anticipated need, we will once again sponsor Santa’s Workshop.”
Martin said responding to community needs is a fundamental goal of Project Success and one taken quite seriously. Although perhaps not a disaster situation, providing Christmas toys to needy children ranks high in importance among families, and Project Success strives to meet that need with as much fervor as they display “feeding the hungry.”
Santa’s Workshop operates in a two-fold process. First, the names of children in need are collected by Hall Township Food Pantry volunteers. (The giving area includes residents of Arlington, Bureau, Cherry, Dalzell, DePue, Hollowayville, Ladd, Seatonville and Spring Valley.) Parents wishing to have their child or children benefit from the program are asked to stop in to sign them up in the Project Success office at 500 N. Terry St. in Spring Valley.
Names will only be accepted from either the parent or guardian with whom the child resides. Parent/guardians must present two forms of identification – photo ID with correct address, plus verification that child resides with them and qualifies for free or reduced lunch at school. Patrons of Hall Township Food Pantry need only give names. Registration began in October and will conclude Nov. 30. No sign-ups will be taken after the deadline.
Christmas presents will be distributed from Ladd Grade School from 8 a.m. to noon on Dec. 8. Only parents or guardians with whom the child resides may pick up gifts – no exceptions. This event is for parents only – children will not be allowed in the gymnasium.
The second part of the Santa’s Workshop program involves sponsorship. Local businesses and organizations are invited to participate in the giving program. This program, titled, Stars of Hope, challenges the participants to collect and donate Christmas toys for children. Collection boxes and stars with a child’s gender and age are available to businesses or groups wishing to take part. Immaculate Conception Church and St. Anthony’s Church already have “giving trees” erected and are full of “stars of hope.” Parishioners from the churches have chosen to collect both toys and outerwear – winter coats! They select stars from the tree and then return them attached to their toy or coat. (Some stars have sizes included in order to purchase coats.) Unable to shop – or would rather not? Make a monetary donation, and the Project Success elves will do the shopping! Wish to be a shopping elf – call Project Success.
“Each year more than 800 children receive toys and coats through Santa’s Workshop,” Martin said. “As you might imagine, this is quite a major undertaking requiring a great deal of planning and organization. We are blessed in our community to have wonderful, giving volunteers. People like to help, and we certainly need volunteer help. Anyone with free time is asked to call the Project Success office at 815-663-2085.”