Nearly 150 needy families have signed up for this year's Share Your Christmas program. The gift-giving effort will serve 400 Barry County children.
"In this ecomony, when families are struggling just to make ends meet, Share Your Christmas becomes so important," said Gail Reed, Barry County OACAC director. "I believe there are a lot of kids who sign up who wouldn't have gifts without Share Your Christmas."
Share Your Christmas is organized by Barry County OACAC Neighborhood Center. Each year, staff members distribute ornaments that display suggested gift items to area businesses.
Individuals and families can help with Share Your Christmas by purchasing gift items listed on ornaments or adopting entire families.
"We have had 11 families adopted so far," said Reed, "but there are lots of families that can be adopted. We have families of all sizes, from one child to nine children."
Individuals, businesses and organizations that adopt a family will be responsible for purchasing Christmas gifts for all of the children in the family.
Community members can also make gift or monetary donations without selecting an ornament from a Share Your Christmas tree.
"We always need baby toys," said Reed. "We also need Legos, puzzles, board games, Barbie dolls, arts and crafts items, Hot Wheels, family and children's DVDs, baby dolls, remote control cars and trucks and sports items."
Any kind of toy will benefit Share Your Christmas. The effort provides toys for children who are between the ages of birth and 12 years. Children who are 13 or older receive gift vouchers.
When Share Your Christmas elves pack toys for children, they generally ensure that each child receives a big toy, stocking stuffers and a board game or other item to share with their family.
Gifts purchased for the Share Your Christmas effort should be left unwrapped. Items can be dropped of at the Neighborhood Center, which is located at 700 E. Highway 248 in Cassville.
Gift bags will be packed on Dec. 13 and distributed to families on Dec. 14.
For more information, call the Barry County OACAC Neighborhood Center at 847-2140.