Several Groups Collecting Toys And Clothes

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The turkey is put away, the dishes are washed, and the sounds of "Silent Night" fill the air as you start to look toward the Christmas season.

As you begin your shopping, you'll pass by countless charities seeking to capture your heart and holiday donations.

In Payson this holiday season, there are a number of charities helping out the less fortunate children in the Rim country.

Santa's List
Probably the oldest toy program in the area, Santa's List recently changed its name from the Payson Toy Drive to avoid confusion with other charities. Each year, the volunteers of Santa's List round up hundreds of donations and thousands of dollars to help provide Christmas packages to the families on their list.

"Our biggest supporter is the APS Stocking Stuffers," said SL president Scott Smith. "This year, they raised $6,500 for our children."

With those funds, Santa's List not only buys presents for some 400 children, but also provides a brighter Christmas for about 80 adults.

Sign up for toys from Santa's List begins Monday, Nov. 30 at the Arizona Department of Economic Security.

Santa's List also operates the community's Angel Tree program, in which the names of children, along with their special Christmas wish, are placed on trees around town. Residents are then encouraged to "adopt" an angel by taking their tag off the tree, buying their special request and returning it back to the place of adoption.

Angel Trees will be at Wal-Mart, Country Kitchen and Cable Vision office on Frontier, starting Dec. 2.

For more information about Santa's List, contact Smith at 474-5450.

Law Enforcement Christmas for Kids

Local law enforcement officers also host their own toy program, funded primarily through the Law Enforcement Golf Tournament held each fall.

"With the money from the golf tournament, we go shopping for the children on our list," said Payson Police Officer Donnie Garvin. "We also raise money at our Tip-A-Cop day at Macky's."

That day, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., local officers will serve as waiters and waitresses and will be working for tips for their toy program.

Macky's will also have an Christmas tree up with names of families for people to adopt. Those families, as well as the children adopted by the law enforcement program, also come from the DES computer.

"We try to help all of Gila County," Garvin said. "Whatever we have left over by the time we're done, we give to the Time Out shelter to assist them with toys and stuff. We also help the hospital with toys."

To learn more about the law enforcement program, contact Garvin at the police department, 474-5177.

Children's Miracle Network
Another Angel Tree of sorts is on display at Ace Hardware on north Beeline Highway for the Children's Miracle Network.

"It's an Ace Hardware corporate charity," said John Patricia, owner of Payson's Ace. "Last year, Ace raised over $3 million for children's hospitals."

The money raised by the Payson store, along with other Ace franchises in the state, will be donated to the Phoenix Children's Hospital.

Customers can donate any amount to the Miracle Network, but those who donate $1 or more will have their names written on an angel and placed on the tree at the front of the store.

"That $1 donation will also enter you into a raffle for a $500 barbecue that we're donating," Patricia said. The drawing will be Dec. 23.

All money raised by the Ace program goes directly to the children's hospital, he said.

For details about the drawing or the Children's Miracle Network, stop by Ace Hardware or call 474-5238.

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