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Editorial: Holiday appeal goes out again

As we enjoy balmy weather and bright skies, it's time to think about winter and the holidays.

In these trying times, we especially appreciate the comfort of warm homes, extra time with family, special meals and delighting our children with toys and cute clothing.

Unfortunately too many people in our community -- moms and dads who don't want to let their children down -- will find this season hard to face. Parents who've lost their jobs or homes will struggle to plan a "normal" Christmas for their sons and daughters.

You can help.

For over 20 years, the Sharing Families Project has given extra food, warm new clothing, toys and other gifts to local families in need. We ask those of you who can to help again this year.

We invite you to "adopt" a family, pick out toys for little girls and boys, shop for clothing for people you don't know or make a cash donation to buy food.

Volunteers have already been busy making contacts, verifying need and compiling lists. On Monday we received the first lists from families in need. More will come in yet this week and next until we get the 50 families the project aims to help each year.

The phones have been ringing and e-mails coming in from work groups and families offering to take on the challenge of buying gifts for families other than their own.

But we need more people to step up to help.

Since the program is anonymous, donors and recipients seldom meet. But we who help with distribution treasure and still talk about moments from years past:

  • Mothers who say thanks through their tears.
  • Adults, left alone in the world, grateful that someone cares.
  • Dads, obviously embarrassed to ask for help, accepting gifts for their children.

    Just as meaningful are the encounters with our generous donors.

    There are the brothers who year after year honor their father by buying bikes for little children.

    There are quilters and knitters who each year donate warm blankets and mittens.

    There are men, women and children who spend hours tracking down special gifts to delight strangers.

    There are children who chip in their own money to give toys to other kids.

    Sharing Families is a nonprofit service supervised by a volunteer board of directors. Over the next couple of weeks we will gather lists of families and their needs.

    We ask you to help in these ways:

  • Make a donation of money to buy food, toys and clothing. (No cash will be given to families.)
  • Sponsor a child or family by buying the items they have requested. Those who decide to do that are asked to call Vera Roy-Stoeberl at 426-1046 or Judy Wiff at 426-1049.
  • Add a child to your shopping list and buy a new toy or game for that child.

    Monetary donations may be mailed to Sharing Families, P.O. Box 701, River Falls, WI 54022, dropped off at a participating bank or brought to the Journal office between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.

    Ah, nothing but a myth...

    The Journal's online poll this week asked: Do you AGREE or DISAGREE that the recent armed robbery at Dick's Hometown Liquor shatters the "Mayberry" image for River Falls?

    As of Tuesday afternoon the three options were answered like this:

  • Neither, because the "Mayberry" image is a myth promoted by local boosters, 50.8%
  • Disagree, it's only one armed robbery and life is still pretty quiet and safe, 25.8%
  • Agree, crime here is getting worse and more violent, 23.5%

    To vote, go to

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