EVART — Tradition.

A loaded word.

Some traditions last ...well ...just about forever.

Some traditions end.

Some traditions change and morph into something new — a new tradition.

After years; after well over a decade; in fact, after a generation and then some, Evart’s annual Christmas Giving Tree will no longer decorate the Corner Cupboard Restaurant on Main Street in town.

For as long as many folks can remember, Jean Duey and her team erected a gaily decorated Christmas tree in the front window of the restaurant just after Opening Day in November.

The tree simply couldn’t be missed by patrons to the Corner Cupboard, or by folks passing on the street.

Slowly but ever-so surely, the space under the tree would fill, and Fill, and FILL to overflowing as generous people from around town dropped off gifts to be donated to the annual Gifts For Kids outreach that went a long way toward ensuring that every young person and family in Osceola County had a little something under their tree at home on Christmas morning — no matter what their personal circumstance might be.

With the closing of the Corner Cupboard, Evart lost not only a well-loved, and very popular eatery, a place where folks met to both chat and chew, but the city also lost its traditional home for the Giving Tree.

Members of Evart’s Order of the Eastern Star organization, (the group sponsoring the Giving Tree for a good number of years now), got busy and cast about for a new home for the tree so that the community outreach could continue.

And so ...a new/old tradition goes on.

Same spirit - different location.

Evart’s Christmas Giving Tree is already up and ready to receive donations of gifts, toys, age-appropriate clothing, and canned and processed food stuffs, at its new home in the Evart Public Library.

The Giving Tree is a long standing tradition in Evart and has helped make Christmas a happier occasion for thousands of youngsters in need.

Folks in Evart and around Osceola County can help make Christmas a little happier and a bit more meaningful by once again taking part in the county-wide Gifts for Kids program.

Gifts for children of all ages are already being accepted and collected not only under the Giving Tree in Evart, but at sites throughout the county including many churches, a wide range of businesses, and through civic and fraternal group efforts. Snowbirds can certainly make a donation early - before they leave for warmer climes.

Church and fraternal groups throughout Osceola County are already getting their “assignments.”

Businesses are being approached for donations

In Reed City, one central location will be the offices of the Pioneer- Osceola Edition, located at 211 West Upton, in the downtown business district. Gifts will be accepted on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Pioneer office.

Giving to Gifts for Kids can make a real difference in the life of an Osceola County family.

And for those taking part ...

Folks need to be registering soon in order to take part in the Gifts For Kids outreach. Registration began Oct. 17 and is ongoing with Love INC and Baker College once again handling the sign-up effort.

Everything is rolling.

This year’s Gifts For Kids holiday distribution will take place at Evart Middle School, in the gymnasium, with crews setting up on Friday, Dec. 9, and participating families arriving Saturday, Dec. 10, to go ‘shopping’ for everything they need to make a child’s Christmas a little brighter.

For more information, contact Nancy Lentz, Community Resource Coordinator with the Department of Human Services (231) 796-4312.