The familiar icons of charitable giving are visible in the Pratt community. Angel Trees are going up on Wednesday, and toy collection boxes have been in place since the fall. Parents of more than 300 local children are counting on the help of generous neighbors to make Christmas merry.
The Angel Tree program is sponsored by Pratt RSVP to provide new clothing for children. The toy program is sponsored by Pansy Rebekah Lodge, American Legion Riders and Pratt High School National Honor Society. Applications have been distributed to parents qualifying for free and reduced price lunches in public schools and are also available at the RSVP office, 619 N. Main. Applications will be accepted through Dec. 9, RVSP director Tiffany Ailstock said. Children from birth through 11 years are enrolled for both programs.
The community always responds generously, according to Georgie Fowler, who coordinates the toy program.
She reminds donors, however, that new, unwrapped toys, in original packaging are wanted.
"Please don't clean out your cupboards and give us stuff," she said.
She also cautioned against items that are personalized with messages, such as "I love my Daddy," as some of the children may not have daddies in their lives.
Toy guns will not be accepted — they will be thrown away, so shoppers should save their money by not donating them.
There are two deadlines to keep in mind. Angel gifts should be returned to the store where the Angel was collected or to the RSVP office by Dec. 16. Donors are encouraged to wrap their packages, however "elves" are available to take on the task, Ailstock said.
The last collection from toy boxes in stores and other locations will be made Dec. 14, to give volunteers time to match toys with children on the list, wrap and sort them for distribution on Dec. 18.
Every child who is registered will receive clothing and toys. Money is available in both funds to purchase gifts for children whose Angel was not returned (about 30 every year) or for whom appropriate toys are not in the boxes.