A Christmas tradition will continue

AFES will take over an extremely important holiday project

For more than six decades a volunteer project in Fort Dodge made Christmas a bit merrier with gifts for youngsters and others in need. In October 2017, Ruth Reed and Gwen Anderson, the co-chairs of Operation Christmas made the sad announcement that it had been decided to end the program. They expressed the hope, however, that some other group would come forward to resurrect this worthwhile undertaking.

That wish has been fulfilled.

Charles Clayton, executive director for the Athletics For Education and Success, has announced that AFES will be taking over the project and has renamed it Community Christmas. Sarah Hatley has been selected as the program director.

“When they decided to close it down we decided that if nobody else would, we would take it over,” Clayton said. “We didn’t want to see it go.”

The new program sponsors have decided to focus their efforts initially on making Christmas more festive for children age 12 and younger but said a few disabled adults will also be gift recipients.

Community Christmas will be run out of the AFES building, 712 Third St., Northwest. Volunteers are needed to make the endeavor thrive. Public support through donations is also a key to the viability of Community Christmas.

The Messenger strongly supports Community Christmas. We applaud AFES for the crucial commitment it has made. We urge our readers to help out in whatever ways they can. If you wish to become a volunteer or make a donation get in touch with AFES by calling 955-2969.

It’s still summertime, of course, but it’s not too early to get behind Community Christmas. Keeping this tradition vibrant is important for our town.