HELENA — At the Cathedral Center in Helena, there’s a room that’s already filling up with hundreds of items that will serve as gifts in this year’s Christmas Giving Tree distribution.
“A lot of places have faced deficiencies in their stockpiles and such, but it’s amazing to see the generosity of the Helena community, our parishioners here and businesses throughout the community that have really come to the front and helped us in supplying these gifts,” said Carter Anderson, a volunteer.
Organizers are going through everything from toys and games to gloves and hats to bicycles to get them ready.
Every year, the Giving Tree program – a partnership between the Cathedral of St. Helena and Good Samaritan Ministries – provides gifts for families in need across the community. Organizers transform the basement of the cathedral to look like a store, with items laid out by age group and for boys and girls. That gives families the chance to go through and make their own selections.
While the Giving Tree program is led by Catholic organizations, it’s open to anyone. In recent years, they’ve served about 350 kids. The event continued last year during COVID, though they had to change the distribution procedure so fewer people would be inside at one time.
Families requesting assistance can register at the Good Samaritan Thrift Store through Tuesday, Dec. 14. The Giving Tree distribution will be held Dec. 18.
If you’re interested in donating items, you can take them to the cathedral or to Good Samaritan through Dec. 12. Organizers say they’re still looking for more gifts for kids ages 12 to 15, and for stuffed animals and games.
You can find more information about Giving Tree on their Facebook page.
Anderson says participating in this program reminds him of the Christmas story – of Jesus being born into poverty – and he’s proud to be involved.
“I think it gives a tangible method of – you know, you can say you’re going to help, but this is a very concrete way of giving back to those in need,” he said.