Gifts for Kids accepting donations through Dec. 11

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Christmas is a time where every man, woman and child should have a gift to give and receive. Many, however, cannot afford the luxury, and that's where the Gifts for Kids program comes in.

Gifts for Kids is an annual event hosted by the Mecosta Osceola County Department of Health and Human Services and Love Inc. that provides Osceola County families in need with presents for the holidays. The event partners with area churches and food pantries.

Donations are being accepted beginning Wednesday, Nov. 11, through Friday, Dec. 11. Cash offerings can be mailed to the DHHS building, 800 Water Tower Rd, Big Rapids. Unwrapped toy donations for various age groups can be dropped off at the Evart Public Library or Lake Osceola State Bank in Reed City.

"Gifts for Kids is a great example of community partners working together to meet the needs in the area," said John Klever, community resource coordinator for DHHS. "It's something we look forward to every year."

The distribution event will take place beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12, at Evart Middle School. It is available only to those who have signed up for the program.

"For the volunteers, it's very rewarding to play a part in seeing families in need have a better Christmas," Klever added. "We always make sure we have enough for the shoppers."

During that time, families will be able to visit tables determined by age group and choose one gift per child. Board games, socks and underwear, and a table of free items will be available to each participant.

Registration is open until Friday, Dec. 4, Klever said, and 49 families already have signed up. The number of registered families has decreased in the last few years for unknown reasons, but he hopes the smaller numbers means there are less families in need. Nevertheless, Klever is spreading awareness of the event into other areas including the Marion and Pine River areas.

To register for Gifts for Kids, call Love Inc. at (231) 468-3204 or (877) 633-0556. For more information about Gifts For Kids, contact John Klever at (231) 796-4312.