christmas tree with giftsInterested in helping another family this holiday season? Network of Community Ministries can assist your company, church or organization in creating a toy drive or Angel Tree to donate toys and gifts to the needy, or your family can make donations directly to Network’s Santa Holiday Project. Their program is the 3rd largest in the area, and it runs now through December 15th.

Network’s Santa Project began in 1986, and 42 children received gifts that first Christmas. In 2011, more than 2,300 kids in the Richardson ISD opened holiday packages. Counselors at RISD elementary schools help identify most of the families needing help, and gifts are stocked by donations from groups and individuals.

If you’d like to help, contact Elizabeth Wheeler at Network for more details: ewheeler@thenetwork.org or 972-234-8880. Each family that receives holiday assistance will get a board game, book, a “wow gift” (something the child really wants), and some stocking stuffers.

Elizabeth told me the board games are important, because they build family unity during the stressful holiday season. Network doesn’t accept gifts with wheels (bikes, tricycles, etc.), and they need your items by Dec. 9th so that elves can get to work packaging families’ gift bags. Gifts should be new and unwrapped. Of course, you can always give money and Network’s staff will purchase items to fill in the gaps.

Network’s facility is located at 741 S. Sherman Street, Richardson. Donations can be delivered around back 9-5 Mon.-Thurs. and 9-11 Fridays.