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Again and again, you gave

This year Sharing Families donations helped 52 families -- 143 children and 72 adults.

Another annual Sharing Families program has wrapped up, and the community has for the 25th year come through in a big way.

This year your donations helped 52 families -- 143 children and 72 adults. Along with clothing, food and toys, you donated or your donations paid for taxi vouchers, gas gift cards, vacuum cleaners and household items. In one case, the program paid to repair a car -- the family's only vehicle -- that had been vandalized.

One generous, compassionate woman paid for school lunches for a third-grader.

Dozens of handmade quilts and wooden cars were donated and gratefully accepted by families, adding a personal touch to many holidays.

Program volunteers noted this year a sadly high number of adults with severe illnesses and that most of the program recipients are employed, though barely scraping by.

Memorable moments from this year's campaign included a woman who picked up her family's gifts only to return a short time later with tears in her eyes to personally say thanks for the warm winter work clothing for her husband whose job requires him to be outside.

Another woman, the last to pick up her gifts, had been spending time nearly every day at a clinic for continuing treatment of a persistent and serious illness.

"If it weren't for you, my daughter wouldn't have any gifts," she said.

"There is a lot of need in our community," said Sharing Families Treasurer Rosalie Walker. "Some folks are doing fine, but some are hanging on the edge with a medical or financial situation that pushes them down."

Walker thanked residents of the River Falls/ St. Croix Valley area for pulling together to support Sharing Families.

She cited River Falls-based nonprofit organizations, Hudson and Prescott businesses, employees who work locally and east of town, churches and residents of River Falls and the surrounding towns for their support.

"A warm house with food and reliable transportation is not a given in River Falls so we want to thank all of you who do a little or a lot to make sure the welfare of others is improved," said Walker.