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Holiday Angels deliver at Christmas

As has been the case for many income assistance agencies in recent years, the demand for the Holiday Angels grew again in 2009.

But through donations and community support, the group was able to meet the needs of St. Croix Central School District residents this holiday season.

"We were up considerably this year," said Sandy Goulette, chair for the Holiday Angels committee.

This year, 69 families, with 173 children, asked for help getting Christmas presents. Eleven of those families were adopted by other families in the St. Croix Central School District, buying all the things the families asked for.

"If they (adoptive families) didn't do it, we would," Goulette said.

Some of the families were new to the program this year while others have been assisted before. That's pretty typical, Goulette said.

"We're always going to get new ones and some of the same ones," she said.

Families are either nominated by someone in the community or schools, or ask for help themselves. They remain completely anonymous throughout the process. Only Goulette knows who the recipients are.

Families create a list of toys and basic necessities they would like for Christmas. A lot of clothing, boots and blankets went out this year, Goulette said.

"There were a lot of families asking for basic needs this year, things to keep kids warm," she said.

Starting in early December, donation boxes for the Holiday Angels were set out at local businesses and schools.

Monetary donations by businesses were down slightly from previous years, Goulette estimated. But, as with everyone else, the economy has impacted those too, she said.

Toy donations may have been down slightly as well, she said, but it's hard to estimate since there were so many children this year.

On Dec. 12, the eight-member Holiday Angel committee, along with a few shopping volunteers, headed off to Target in Hudson to buy more gifts. Target opens its doors an hour early for the committee each year, but they are still in the store all day, Goulette said.

"Target is just great to work with," she said. "They couldn't be better."

While the group was shopping this year, a Target employee surprised them with a gift from the store. It was a $600 gift card.

"A couple of us had tears in our eyes when we heard about it," Goulette said.

When all the shopping is done, the presents are sorted into bags for each family. Presents are unwrapped, but the Holiday Angels include wrapping supplies for the parents.

Two days are designated for the families to pick up their gifts.

How to help

The Holiday Angels try to raise money year round for the busy month of December.

One larger fundraiser for the group is a dart tournament in late October.

Monetary donations, in the form of a check made out to the Roberts Lions Foundation, can be mailed to Goulette, at 775 103rd St., Roberts, or dropped off at the Roberts Police Department, 107 E. Maple St.

For more information, call Goulette at 749-3467.