Local charity organizers are gearing up for their busiest time of the year and they're hoping community residents will pitch in to make this a happy holiday season for the less fortunate in the community.
The following charities are seeking assistance this Christmas. In addition to the organizations listed, a number of other worthy causes could use a hand, such as the Payson Food Bank, Veterans Helping Veterans, the Time Out Domestic Violence Shelter, and the Payson Humane Society.
Lioness' food drive
The Payson Lioness Club helps people put food on the table through its annual Food Basket program.
"We will be screening applicants at the Arizona Department of Economic Security from Nov. 29 through Dec. 10," said Lioness Jan Parsons. Registration will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Food baskets will be assembled at the Rim Country Middle School gym at 10 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 19. Applicants will be able to pick up their food baskets between 7:30 a.m. and noon Tuesday, Dec. 21.
As with any of the Christmas charities, monetary donations are always accepted. To help with the fund, send a check to the Christmas Food Basket Fund, c/o Payson Lioness Club, P.O. Box 2064, Payson, AZ 85547.
"This year, we need the help of any able-bodied individuals who can lift heavy boxes, load and unload food Dec. 19 and Dec. 21," Parsons said.
For more information or to volunteer, call, Jan Parsons at 474-7645.
Each year, Santa's List raises thousands of dollars to buy toys and other gifts for the Rim country's less fortunate families.
"Our biggest supporter is the APS Stocking Stuffers," said president Scott Smith. "This year, the organization raised $8,000 for our children at its annual golf tournament."
With that bottom-line boost, Santa's List will buy gifts for 400 children and about 80 adults.
Santa's List will begin accepting applications Monday, Nov. 29 at the Arizona Department of Economic Security. Sign-up will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays.
Santa's List also operates the community's Angel Tree program, which allows children to place their names and their special Christmas wishes on trees around town. Residents are encouraged to "adopt" an angel by taking a tag off a tree, buying the special request listed and returning it to the place of adoption.
Angel Trees will be at Rim Country Kids, Wal-Mart, Country Kitchen and the Cable Vision office on Frontier starting Dec. 1. Gifts are to be returned to the appropriate angel tree by Dec. 15.
For more information about Santa's List, call Smith at 474-5450.
Children's Miracle Network
An angel tree of a different kind can be found at Ace Hardware on North Beeline Highway. This fund-raising effort benefits the Children's Miracle Network.
"It's the Ace Hardware corporation's biggest charity," said local owner John Patricia. "Last year's campaign raised $3 million for children's hospitals."
Customers can donate any amount to the Miracle Network, but those who donate $1 or more will have their names written on a little angel ornament.
"We've taken the biggest tree in our store, and we're going to decorate that tree with all of our angels," Patricia said.
The money raised by the Payson store, along with other Ace franchises in the state, will be donated to the Phoenix Children's Hospital.
For details about the drawing or the Children's Miracle Network, stop by Ace Hardware, or call 474-5238.
Tamales for Toys
For the 11th year, Siliva and Don Smith will host their Tamales For Toys dinner to gather toys for the Law Enforcement Toy Drive. This year's event will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Custom "S" Welding in Ox Bow Estates.
Each year, the Smiths spend countless hours making homemade tamales for the banquet.
The day of the event, the Smiths serve their feast to a famished fold for the price of a new, unwrapped toy for a girl or boy.
The toys collected during the event are turned over to local law enforcement agencies for their Christmas toy drive.
This is a once-a-year event, so don't be late. Custom "S" Welding is 1/4 mile off Highway 87 on Ox Bow Estates Road.
For more information, call the Smiths at 474-9609.