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Christmas helpers spread holiday cheer
MARYSVILLE Every year for the last 12 years, Lillie Lein, coordinator for Operation Marysville Community Christmas, starts with nothing but 600-700 needy families, 400-500 of those with children, looking at a bleak Christmas.
Every year, said Lein, who is Deputy Clerk for Marysville in her day job, the community comes through. Needed help comes from generous individuals, civic groups, merchants, school organizations and civil servants.
When you see how much the whole community has given, including the volunteers like Lillie and many others, you really see how this works, said Wayne Zachry, Marysville Rotary Club President. Individual Rotary Club members paid for 60 of 66 bicycles and hundreds of dollars in gift cards to the effort, which were collected by the club and presented to Lein for distribution.
The Lions, Kiwanis and Soroptimist Clubs also give to the effort, Lein said. And merchants are very, very generous. Wal-Mart provided the bicycles, including donating six outright, and also portable CD players, everything at considerably below retail. Target, Fred Meyer, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble, local theaters, and Zumiez, a national teen clothing retailer headquartered in Everett, were equally generous.
Lein said K-Mart, Thriftway, North County Bank and Home Street Bank put up Christmas trees with gift tags. Locals selected a gift tag from the tree, purchased the present and returned it to the tree for later collection by volunteers to the Marysville Food Bank, which acts as the lead for the campaign and adds food for eventual distribution to the families. DECA students from the high school and other students there, as well as from other middle and elementary schools have done projects and volunteered as well.
Our local firefighters, with their Santa Runs, also contribute food and gifts, Lein said.
People are very generous but it is a challenge every year to give something appropriate for the teenagers on the list, thus the portable CD players and bikes. Between 400-500 families with kids registered for the program this year, which Lein said is about average.
Gather all of this stuff together and the Food Bank doesnt have near enough room for it. Lein said that Larry and Harv Jubie have donated 5,000-square-feet of space for the gifts for several years.
The gathered gifts are distributed to the families days before Christmas. It is one small way, every year, that Marysville shows its heart and a character of caring about others.