Posted on

Spirit of Christmas looks to another year of giving

By Julia Wolf

The recent snowy weather serves as a reminder that the winter holidays are quickly approaching. Spirit of Christmas of Chippewa County, is once again looking for help meeting the needs of children and families in Chippewa County.

Last year, the organization served about 1,500 children and 500 families.

Glen Zwiefelhofer, president of Spirit of Christmas, says gift tags, with individuals gift requests, will be available at businesses in Cadott, Cornell, Stanley and Chippewa Falls.

“We do have about 50-55 sites who take tags,” said Zwiefelhofer.

He says the number of tree tag sites are down this year, because some businesses are not able to let people into the building, because of COVID-19.

Applications for gifts are based on the honor system, with those in Chippewa County eligible. Applicants are asked to make a list of things the child would like, as well as specify clothing sizes. Each child receives between $75 and $100 worth of stuff, which includes socks, underwear, toothbrushes and other toiletry items.

There will be distribution points in Cadott, Cornell, Stanley and Chippewa Falls, with the distribution taking place Saturday, Dec. 19. Zwiefelhofer says contact during the distribution will be limited as much as possible this year, to keep the pick-up safe.

“Everything is going to be as drive-up as possible,” said Zwiefelhofer.

Zwiefelhofer also says 80-100 kids are sponsored each year, with businesses and individuals volunteering to sponsor a family. He said some sponsors also provide a Christmas meal for the family.

Ashley Carothers, a Cornell volunteer for Spirit of Christmas, says support from the community through the whole process is great.

“I’m kind of excited to see if I need one U-Haul or two,” said Carothers.

Carothers says she enjoys helping with the organization, calling it addictive.

Gift tags for people to pick up will be available at the Courier Sentinel office, Cornell Chiropractic, Stacker Nutrition and Marshfield Clinic, in Cornell. A tag tree is also located at the Cadott Community Library and the English Lutheran Church of Bateman. The gift tags will be available beginning the first week of November.

“Even if they don’t find a tag, they can still buy toys and donate them,” said Carothers. “Those toys will go to the distribution and they’ll be handed out accordingly.”

Unwrapped gifts, with the tag attached, should be returned by Tuesday, Dec. 1, to the location the tag was picked up at, with the exception of Marshfield Clinic. Their drop-off site is the Courier Sentinel. Carothers says, if desired, materials to wrap the gifts later, can be included.

The Courier Sentinel will also again have a mitten tree, where mittens, gloves, hats and scarves will be collected for people in need in the area.

Ginna Young, mitten tree organizer, says all sizes of storebought or homemade items are accepted, though the winter wear must be new. The hats and mittens can be dropped off during business hours, by Friday, Nov. 27.

Last year, 115 items were collected.

“We’d like to beat that this year,” said Young. “I think there are going to be a lot of people in need, with everything that’s going on. They shouldn’t have to choose between warm clothes and groceries.”

The collected items will also be distributed through Spirit of Christmas.

Applications to receive gifts are available at thespiritofchristmaschippewacounty. com, or at the Chippewa County Courthouse in Room 305. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Those interested in having a gift tree in their business, or sponsoring a family, should contact Zwiefelhofer, at 715-944-4272.