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In the spirit of giving, sponsors needed

2012 HELP Christmas Campaign for Kids is underway and is in need of 20 more sponsors to provide a happy holiday season to area families in need of assistance.

The annual campaign 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 requirement is that the family live in the Hudson School District.

Families register to participate and give information about their children including sizes and a wish list. Sponsors are encouraged to provide what they can afford. In recent years, parents have been asking for "the basics" like coats, mittens and boots according to the HELP staff and focusing less on toys. Sponsors often go above and beyond, adding items to the families' list at their own discretion.

Anyone interested in participating as a sponsor can take on 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 mittens, underwear and socks for each child in the family. Information about gift needs, preferences, sizes etc. will be emailed to the sponsor.

Last year 172 area families with 277 children were served. They expect that number to go up this year.

Families and sponsors who want to participate in the Operation HELP annual Christmas Campaign for Kids can sign up now at the organization's website at Participants need to make sure Operation HELP is in their contacts or that they check their spam. The applications for assistance will close on Dec. 3. If anyone is unable to sign up on line, they can contact their school counselor or the SOURCE (715)386-1300.

Gifts need to be dropped at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 502 County UU on Monday, Dec. 10. Distribution to families will be on Dec. 13 at St. Paul's.

Distribution for the Christmas Campaign will be at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 502 County UU in Hudson on Dec. 13 from 2-7 p.m.

Local Menards home improvement stores are serving as a toy drive drop site. A drop box will be located near the exit door to collect new and unwrapped presents from now through mid-December.

Edina Realty, 400 S.Second St. is conducting at doing a toy drop in conjunction with the Operation HELP Campaign for Kids.

WESTconsin Credit Union, 1501 Maxwell Drive, is collecting both hats and mittens along with toys in conjuncton with the Operation HELP Campaign for Kids.

Edward Jones, 596 Outpost Circle, is a collection point for Toys for Tots.

Viking Electronics,1531 Industrial St., is a collection point for toys for the Campaign for Kids as is the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, 502 Second St.

Hearts of Hammond will be collecting non-perishable food items from now through Christmas and delivering them to the Roberts Food Pantry located at the United Church of Christ in Roberts. Current needs at the Food Pantry include paper products, hygiene products such as soap and shampoo, cake mixes, salad dressings, canned goods, peanut butter, baking supplies, pasta and sauce and other basics. Cash donations are also welcomed. Deer hunters can donate their venison, as well, provided the meat was processed at a state-inspected facility. Donated items can be dropped off at the Hammond Community Library, Sandy Brecht Photography,

Holiday and Bob & Steve's BP through Dec. 25. Monetary donations can be mailed directly to the Roberts Food Pantry, 1001 Birch Drive, Roberts.

Erskine Interiors, 1719 Coulee Rd. is a collection point for Toys for Tots. Over 1,100 toys are needed to reach the business' goal.