Make Christmas Merry For Neighbors

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Rim Country residents have a wonderful assortment of ways to make Christmas merry for their neighbors.

Children and whole families, senior citizens and even the Pine library can be “adopted” for the holidays.

The Court Appointed Special Advocates program of Gila County makes it possible for residents to embrace a child in the foster system and provide them with a gift or gifts.

Snowflake Ornaments representing a child in foster care are on a Christmas tree at the Gila County courthouse lobby, 714 S. Beeline Hwy., Payson.

It is suggested gifts be between $20 and $25 and returned, wrapped, no later than Dec. 7.

For more information, contact Katrisha Stuler at the probation window at the courthouse or call (928) 474-7145.

Bell ringers needed

Those who would rather give of their time, the Payson chapter of the Salvation Army needs Bell Ringers from now through Christmas Eve.

Bell Ringers need to be able to commit to two-hour shifts, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Ringers will be working at Walmart, Walgreens, Bashas’ and Safeway.

Anyone can be a Bell Ringer, including those who need to complete court-ordered community service. For details and to sign up, call John Morgan at (928) 474-8454 or (928) 595-0517.

The Salvation Army will again have an “Angel Tree” at National Bank of Arizona, 804 S. Beeline Hwy., Payson, from which residents can choose an “angel tag” and provide Christmas gifts for area youngsters who would not have a holiday without assistance.

The Public Safety Christmas for Kids Program also makes it possible to help brighten the holiday season for those in need. Residents can exchange new toys for a tamale dinner on Dec. 3, or look for drop boxes for the program at area stores.

The Payson Elks Lodge will take area children on a shopping spree Dec. 3 and the Greater Payson Moose Lodge gives a Christmas party in which its young guests receive gifts.

To find out how to help, call the Elks at (928) 474-2572 or the Moose at (928) 474-6212.

Local residents and businesses may help less fortunate seniors in the community by stopping by any Edward Jones branch office during regular business hours to select a “Senior Angel” between Nov. 28 through Dec. 16. Shop for your chosen angel and drop off all gifts, which Edward Jones staff will deliver to Payson area seniors in need.

Branch locations are Suite B, 411 South Beeline Hwy. and 113 W. Main St. in Payson and 4010 N. Hwy. 87 in Pine.

Give a gift to the whole Pine-Strawberry community in 2012 by purchasing a book for the Isabelle Hunt Memorial Public Library “Tree of Giving” fund-raiser. 

The library’s Christmas tree is up and ready for those interested to select a book (located on ornament) for the collection.

The object is to buy new titles for children such as Carl Hiaasen’s “Chomp” and new titles for adults such as “Phantom” by Ted Bell and “Dorchester Terrace” by Anne Perry, as well as DVDs to be published in 2012.

When the books arrive the library staff will place bookplates inside noting the gift. All donations are tax-deductible.

For additional information contact the library at (928) 476-3678.

Christmas campaign for displaced and disadvantage youth

Optimist, Rotary and Kiwanis club members, the director of the Payson Senior Center, school district personnel, other non-profit representatives and interested individuals are working on a community effort to provide Christmas gifts for the area’s displaced and disadvantaged youth.

Possible items to be provided are hat, scarf and gloves, sweater/hooded sweatshirt, flannel pajamas, underwear, socks, etc., and an age-appropriate book, game or puzzle.

The focus will be on clothing and other personal necessities only, along with an age-appropriate puzzle/toy.

The school district personnel already knows who the families in need are, so they will be interviewed by district representatives who will obtain a list of items to purchase along with sizes. They will also obtain permission to give the gifts in person if this is something the giver wishes.

There are checks in place with other organizations and within the school district itself to prevent duplication of efforts by other organizations to provide Christmas gifts. Financial donations in the form of checks should be made out to Rotary or the Senior Center, stating that the funds are for Christmas Boxes to obtain a tax deduction.

If a donor wishes to have someone else purchase and/or wrap for them, this can be done by volunteers. If you wish to get started, e-mail or call Joan Young at harjoy@ npgcable.com or Allic at allic.bales@pusd.com.

It appears the size of families needing assistance will range from two to eight (or nine) persons, counting one or more parents and possibly two families at a single address. While the focus of this Christmas campaign is the youth; adults can be included if so desired. Items will be wrapped individually and placed in a large bag/box for the recipient(s).

All involved are invited to wrap gifts at the Senior Center Saturday, Dec. 17. Center director Joanne Conlin suggests starting early, but no specific time has yet been set.

To keep participants informed, an e-mail list is being created. It is not yet complete, so in the meantime, contact Joan Young at (928) 472-2264 or at her e-mail address.

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