It may be Thanksgiving on Thursday, but the Christmas season has already begun. For weeks, department and local stores have played Christmas music and strung twinkly lights for their holiday displays. And now, the St. Nick’s Christmas Club has its adoption book available in the Newton Daily News office.
The Christmas Club has served Jasper County for a handful of years, beginning as a small group in the late ’80s.
“It had humble beginnings,” said organizer Kathy Doyle. “A couple gals in town who didn’t have a whole lot extra themselves would go around with a red wagon every year and pick up canned goods and stuff from people’s gardens and take them around town to people who had needs. It was a food-based thing in the beginning.”
Since then, the club has grown into a wildly successful annual event involving hundreds of needy families and kids being served during the holiday season.
“Last year, we adopted over 650 kids and we look to be able to do that again this year,” Doyle said.
Each year, eligible families fill out the adoption form to receive presents for their children that they cannot provide themselves. The Christmas Club then reaches out to local individuals, families, civic groups, churches and businesses to provide clothing, toys and food. Gifts are collected at a central location and will be ready for pick-up on Thursday, Dec. 13.
“I think the sentiment of every single person on that club is, they’ve had a great Christmas and they think all kids should have a great Christmas,” Doyle said. “My favorite part is working with the volunteers and seeing how excited they get about money they’ve raised or something special they’ve bought. I just love the infectious excitement and the enthusiasm I see when the volunteers talk about the things they’ve done.”
Nearly 300 families have signed up for holiday assistance, with more on a waiting list. Those interested in more information about the St. Nick’s Christmas Club can call the Ho-Ho-Hotline at (641) 840-2682.
Amy Martens can be contacted at (641) 792-3121 ext. 426 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.