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I'd like to share something that we do every year that others might consider. The Salvation Army sponsors "Angel Trees" in the local malls. Paper angels with information about a needy child are hung on the trees like ornaments. You pick an angel and buy something the child needs and a toy, if you can afford both. The angel lists all the child's sizes and what they need or want. Sometimes it's something as simple as underwear.

Years ago my family and I decided not to buy just one thing for the child, but to buy a bunch. Then, we got concerned that if there were many children in the family, it would be difficult for a parent to explain why one child got only a toy and shirt while another got a whole bunch of stuff. So, we talked to the volunteers and asked if they could give us an entire family. They were more than happy to do so.

Now we get a large family, 5 or 6 kids. We buy each child a pair of jeans, pair of nicer pants, shirt, sweater, coat, socks, underwear and a toy. If the kids are close in age, we try to coordinate the colors of things we buy so they can be used by the younger kids as hand me downs. My SO and I don't have kids and have never really been around kids, so it's sort of a hoot to do the shopping because we really don't know what we are doing. We always go to Sears as the salespeople get into helping us and they have a "Kid's Club" which gives you 15% off your next purchase after you buy $100 worth of stuff. We have the first $100 rung up, then use the 15% off on the remaining items.

I know not everyone is in a position to do as much as we are lucky to be able to do, but if you can help a family just by buying a few things for each kid, I know it helps tremendously.

In addition to the gifts for the children, the Salvation Army tries to give each family groceries for a holiday dinner as well. And, all of the families are screened by the Salvation Army to ensure they are in need.

Happy holidays!
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