• Last modified 962 days ago (Nov. 4, 2021)


Aid programs can help rescue Christmas

Staff writer

As if 2020 hadn’t already been a tough year for 12-year-old Emma because of the death of her mother, Christmas would have been stark without the help of a program that provides holiday gifts for children who otherwise would have nearly nothing to open on Christmas morning.

The program also supplies families with the trappings of a holiday feast.

“I was satisfied with it; we got a lot of stuff,” said the Marion County grandmother who now cares for Emma (not her real name). “She was really happy with that.”

Emma’s Christmas was joyful last year. She was especially pleased with a hat and glove set in her favorite color.

“Her mom had passed away in July, so last year was a pretty hard year, and we didn’t have the money to get her stuff and us food,” her grandmother said. “I was shocked by how much we got. We got two big boxes and a couple bags of food. I was so thankful. We had a really good Christmas.”

When Emma’s grandmother was wondering how she was going to provide for Christmas, Emma’s caseworker at Prairie View told her about the program.

One of the program coordinators knew Emma and asked her grandmother how the girl was doing after her mother’s death.

“I decided to try and sign up and see if we were qualified to get it,” the grandmother said.

Emma gets Social Security survivor benefits, but that money doesn’t go far.

She plans to see whether the family qualifies this year.

“If you really, really need the help, sign up for the program because it’s really worth it,” the grandmother said.

Application deadlines for Christmas assistance programs in the county are coming up.


Applications for Marion’s Community Christmas program are going out to schools, the health department, Safe Hope, and the food bank. Applications also are available at city hall.

The program serves families in the Marion-Florence and Centre school districts, providing gifts and boxes of food.

Applications are due Nov. 19 at city hall. Proof of income is required.


Goessel’s Christmas Giving Tree, coordinated by the ministerial alliance, serves children in the Goessel area. Applications can be picked up at Goessel Elementary and High School offices, the city office, Crossroads Credit Union, and Citizens State Bank.

Applications are due Nov. 12 and can be taken to a school or Crossroads Credit Union.

Donors can select a tag from a tree at the credit union.


Hillsboro has two holiday assistance programs, one for families and one for children.

The Giving Tree program for families is coordinated by Hillsboro State Bank.

A tree with tags will be put in the bank lobby, and donors will choose tags to buy gifts. Gifts are provided for struggling families.

Applications are due Nov. 30. Proof of income is required.

Emprise Bank sponsors a Silver Angel Tree program for Marion County seniors 55 and older. Applications must be submitted by Nov. 19 and can be submitted by the senior or someone else on the senior’s behalf. No proof of income is needed.


Peabody churches sponsor an informal Christmas program. Families looking for assistance may speak to any Peabody minister.

Last modified Nov. 4, 2021