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AFES to the rescue of Christmas

This year, an old local tradition will get a new energy

We’ve said it before, but it certainly bears a repeat: Athletics For Education and Success is saving an important Fort Dodge holiday tradition: Operation Christmas.

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 was fulfilled.

“When they decided to close it down we decided that if nobody else would, we would take it over,” Charles Clayton, executive director of Athletics for Education and Success, said a year ago. “We didn’t want to see it go.”

So it was AFES to the rescue.

Last year, the program, renamed Community Christmas, served 256 children. That was an impressive start in the first year that AFES led the program.

This year, Clayton and Sarah Hatley, the Community Christmas coordinator, are asking donors to sign up to buy gifts and clothing for a specific family. AFES will provide the food that will also be given to the families, while local churches will supply paper products.

Community Christmas will be run out of the AFES building, 712 Third St. N.W.

Public support through donations is also a key to the viability of Community Christmas. To donate, send checks to AFES, 712 Third St. N.W., Fort Dodge, IA 50501. Please write Community Christmas on the memo line of the check.

The Messenger has always been a fan of Christmas, in general, and Operation Christmas for the entirety of its existence. Now we take pleasure in supporting this latest iteration of seasonal spirit: Community Christmas.

For as long as AFES has been in existence, we have seen its good works multiply and ripple out into the city. Here is another example in this crucial commitment that AFES has made.

We urge our readers to help out in whatever ways they can.

Keeping the tradition of service and giving is so important for Fort Dodge.

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