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Operation HELP's Christmas Campaign for Kids is underway

The annual Operation HELP Christmas Campaign for Kids is a cooperative effort between the organization and sponsors from throughout the community working together to provide gifts for children, from infants and toddlers through high school. The only requirements is that the family lives in the Hudson School District.

Families register to participate and give information about their children including sizes and a wish list. Anyone interested in participating as a sponsor can take a family or just one or two children, depending on what they wish to spend. Sponsors will be asked to provide gifts, warm hats and gloves/mittens, underwear, and socks for each child in the family. Information about gift needs, preferences, sizes and anything else will be emailed to the sponsor.

In recent years, parents have asked for "the basics" like coats, mittens/gloves, and boots according to the HELP staff and focusing less on toys. Sponsors often go above and beyond to add items to the families' list at their own discretion.

Registration for families wishing to receive assistance or volunteer to sponsor a family start Oct. 23 and close Nov. 22. Registration can be done online at www.operationhelpstcroix.org or by coming into or calling the HELP office at 901 Fourth St. from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday or 5-6:30 p.m. Thursday evening. Information about the campaign is also available through Hudson school counselors.

Operation HELP also will be collecting new blankets for the families Nov. 4-Dec. 2 at the following locations: Associated Bank, Hiawatha Bank, Hudson library, MidwestONE Banks both in Hudson and North Hudson, Riverfront Athletic, St. Paul's Episcopal Church (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.), Tangled Spa and Salon, and Wells Fargo Bank.

Toys are being collected at Edina Realty, Viking Electronics, WESTconsin Credit Union, and Edina Realty from Nov. 1-Dec. 4.

Gifts need to be dropped off at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 502 County UU, Dec. 4-5 for distribution to the families. Distribution of gifts to families will occur at St. Paul's Episcopal Church on Dec. 7.