LIBERTY - For more than 30 years, local volunteers and organizations in Liberty have worked together to ensure students in grades preschool to fourth at EJ Blott Elementary School have Christmas gifts.
Fran Pettit-Poe, local volunteer and event coordinator, said the idea of the Blott Kids Holiday Project started from retired elementary teacher Gretchen Reed, who wanted to see that each child had at least two or three gifts.
This year, volunteers spent a day wrapping donated and purchased items at Churchill United Methodist Church for 46 families.
Pettit-Poe said each of the 76 children being helped will receive four gifts. Each child gets a toy, a board game, an outfit and a book to unwrap on Christmas morning.
Volunteer Gloria Lang said local churches, businesses and civic groups provided funds and / or gifts. There were sharing trees placed at different locations in the township for donations of toys and clothes.
''The community and the many volunteers make this possible,'' Pettit-Poe said.
Lang said the effort will really help those Liberty families who are struggling to get gifts this holiday season.
"Some of these children would not get anything under their tree. Some of them don't even have a Christmas tree," said Pettit-Poe.
Reed always made sure at least one gift was a book or educational toy since many children weren't reading regularly because they had no books.
The program started when she began asking teachers and the school nurse at EJ Blott which students may need help during the holidays.
The sizes of clothing and types of toys desired are listed early in the season on a sharing tree. In recent years, between 60 and 100 children have been helped.