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Sisters gears up for season of giving

By Jim Cornelius

As the holiday season rolls around, the Sisters community traditionally expresses the spirit of giving with programs that help area families celebrate with food, clothing and toys.

The Sisters Post Office is teaming up with Forest Service personnel and the Sisters Kiwanis to gather food that will be distributed to area families over the holidays.

Sisters area residents can drop off canned food at the post office or leave it by their mail boxes on December 1 and 2 where Forest Service personnel will pick it up. The food will be donated to the Kiwanis "food box" program which provides holiday cheer to approximately 80 less fortunate families throughout the Sisters area.

The food box program, along with other holiday giving efforts, is coordinated with the Sisters-Camp Sherman Rural Fire Protection District.

Kiwanian Tom Worcester told The Nugget that applications for food boxes are currently available at the Kiwanis Community Service Building on the corner of Main and Oak streets, at the Sisters Firehall and at local churches.

Worcester said the boxes include food donated by the community and a choice of a ham or turkey purchased by Kiwanis from Ray's Food Place. The boxes are assembled at the Sisters Firehall and can be picked up there, although Fire Chief Don Mouser noted that boxes will be delivered to anyone who is confined and can't get to the Firehall.

The Kiwanis' traditional Spirit of Christmas Tree will be erected at Ray's Food Place early in the week of December 4. Families who request needed items such as clothing or children's toys on the Kiwanis screening form (the same one used for the food basket program) will be represented anonymously on ornaments hung on the tree. Community members can take an ornament and make a gift of whatever is asked for on the ornament.

Worcester said that applications for food boxes and tree ornaments should be completed before December 15. Donated gifts can be delivered to the Sisters Firehall by December 17.

The RFPD conducts a toy drive to provide toys for children that are requested on the Spirit of Christmas Tree and to fill requests made directly at the Firehall.

The Sisters-Camp Sherman RFPD also hosts a community Christmas dinner.

"It's on Christmas Day for anyone who is alone or in need of a Christmas dinner," Chief Mouser said.

The dinner is made from community-donated food and put on with the help of many volunteers from the Sisters community. It's open to all who wish to come for the fellowship and holiday cheer.

"We just think that's a day that you should be with people," Chief Mouser said. "So we provide them with a dinner."

Worcester noted that there are many in the community who want to make direct cash donations to help those in need during the holiday season. Such donors can make tax deductible contributions to the Sisters Kiwanis Foundation, Worcester said.

The money donated to the foundation is used to help provide emergency fuel, eye and dental care and other urgent needs for community members.

"It's really considered an emergency fund," Worcester said.

Sisters Rotary Club will sponsor its annual Kid's Shopping Spree on the evening of December 14. Rotarians will escort some 20 disadvantaged children identified by the Sisters School District on a shopping spree to buy gifts for their families. According to Rotary president Sharon Dilley, many merchants offer discounts for the young shoppers.

Sisters Rotary Club also sponsors the Coats for Kids program, which provides warm clothing for children who need it. Dilley said that donated coats or mittens and caps can be dropped off at Sisters COCC extension office in care of Sisters Rotary.

Pets won't be left out of all the holiday giving. The Nugget Newspaper, 385 E. Main Street, will collect donations of canned and dry pet food in the Third Annual Furry Friends Food Drive to be distributed through the Kiwanis food box program. Food drive organizers noted that cash donations are welcome and 100 percent of donations go to purchase whatever types of food are still needed at the end of the drive. Checks may be made out to The Nugget Newspaper -- Furry Friends Food Drive.

For more information on the food box program and other Kiwanis programs call Karen Shimamoto at 549-8918 or Bob Walter at 549-1158.

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