For Ann Farmer, Senior Outreach Coordinator for the Oakdale Police Department, when she heard that the annual Spirit Tree wasn’t going to happen this year, she went through a range of emotions. First and foremost, she was sad for all those children who would go without this Christmas, then she got motivated.
Farmer started a small movement from the heart that she is hoping will encourage the community to join in to help the city’s youngest citizens enjoy a little something on Christmas Day.
The Oakdale Police Department, in partnership with the Family Support Network, Save Mart, and ROTA will host a toy give-away for children ages 2 years to 10 years old. They are seeking donations of new, unwrapped toys, and/or monetary donations or donations of wrapping paper. Collection bins will be available at the following locations starting Nov. 6:
• Oakdale Police Department
• City Hall
• Save Mart (starting Nov. 23)
• Oakdale Fire Department (both stations)
• Oakdale Pet Station
• Oakdale Chamber of Commerce
Farmer, who often gives referrals for service for families in need said, “Everyday I am getting calls for service, families needing food, clothing, help with electric bills, etc. These are such hard times for some families out of work. This is what got me thinking about the holidays coming and the little children not having a Christmas. My heart ached at the thought and since there won’t be a Spirit of Christmas Tree this year, I wanted to do something for our community to perhaps bring some joy to a family and a child that may not have been able to be provided for.”
Farmer hopes they receive enough donations to provide a new toy for each child on the list of requests but they can only give what they receive so Farmer is encouraging people to look into their hearts and give a little something to a stranger in need.
“I would like our community to know that we care, and will work together at bringing some happiness to a child,” Farmer said. “This is the most caring and giving community and I know we can do this together.”
Save Mart will have a tree with gift tags in the store on Nov. 23. The deadline for donation is Dec. 18.
For more information on how to help or donate, call Ann at 845-3537 or Cathy at 847-5121, ext. 201.