Christmas program continues mission of aiding Moraine children, families in need

Tiffany Doakes and MyKaelah Mercer look over toys that will be given to children in need. Christmas Smiles has served more than 1,300 children since it was founded in 2009. JIM NOELKER/STAFF
Caption
Tiffany Doakes and MyKaelah Mercer look over toys that will be given to children in need. Christmas Smiles has served more than 1,300 children since it was founded in 2009. JIM NOELKER/STAFF

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

MORAINE — A program that provides toys, clothes and food to children in need during the holidays is gearing up for another season of giving.

Christmas Smiles provides Christmas gifts and a food box for children in the community, according to MyKaelah Mercer, operations manager for the city of Moraine.

“During the two-part application process, we collect basic information for each child, including clothing sizes and Christmas wishes,” Mercer said. “Once we have verified and approved all applications, we post the final list of children that can be sponsored by individuals, families, businesses, or organizations in our local community that want to help.”

Those charitable people or institutions then purchase Christmas presents for the children, which typically include clothing, shoes, winter necessities and items from the child’s wishlist, she said. Christmas Smiles coordinates a day in December for the parent or guardian to retrieve everything well before the actual holiday to allow them time to wrap a child’s gifts and have a meal on Christmas day.

The program has served nearly 1,400 children since it was founded by Kim Wallace in 2009. Last year, it helped 104 children and 53 families, Mercer said. This year, it will help 101 children and 43 families.

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“We understand that the holiday season can be challenging for many families,” Mercer said. “We run Christmas Smiles to ensure every child has their wishes fulfilled and needs met during the winter months. Our primary goal for the Christmas Smiles program is to alleviate the possibility of Christmas Day being a burden to Moraine families, and instead(help them) enjoy this time and create happy memories that will last a lifetime.”

Donors may stop by Payne Recreation Center, 3800 Main St., or Gerhardt Civic Center, 3050 Kreitzer Road, to contribute non-perishable, non-expired food items, new rolls of wrapping paper and tape, miscellaneous children’s toys and clothing and gift cards that can be given to children.

Also accepted are monetary donations in the form of cash or checks payable to the Moraine Foundation, a tax-credit charitable organization. Donations must be dropped off through and including Nov. 29.

Area residents can help by coming into the PRC or GCC to select a child or family to adopt. Adoptions close on Nov. 24.

Christmas Smiles accepts a limited number of volunteers to assist with the program by sorting canned goods, preparing food boxes, and assisting with pickup day. Those interested may call Mercer at 937-535-1077 or program coordinator Tiffany Doakes at 937-535-1096.

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