Groups, community members donate gifts to area homeless families

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. (WEAU) - In the season of giving, many groups and community members bought presents for homeless families in Eau Claire and the surrounding area.

With Christmas less than two weeks away, 15 families Eau Claire, Buffalo, Jackson and Trempealeau counties without homes won't have to worry about missing out on the holidays as donated presents continue to pile up at Western Dairyland.

"If we can make it easier for them to lighten that load ... they can have a Christmas like you and I would like to enjoy," Western Dairyland homeless case manager Karen Smith said.

This year, Eau Claire businesses, students at CVTC, church groups in Trempealeau County and others took part in the program.

"I link them up, get a wish list and then the sponsor will bring wrapped gifts and we'll get the gift out before Christmas," Smith said.

"There are those who have a lot less, and I think the generosity of our employees," Jay Paradies said. "It makes you feel good inside."

"We just knew that it's hard enough trying to get through the Christmas season, so just to be able to make a smile on a little kid's face, is just all we needed," Pizza Plus owner Benny Haas said.

Pizza Plus bought presents for two families and Viking Electric collected 26 presents and grocery cards.

"It's a very big relief to the families, the parents, because then they know they'll have something for their children, then the children will be excited to have something to open on Christmas," Smith said.

Pizza Plus has a fundraising event planned this Saturday where proceeds will go to buying presents and helping families.

For more information on how to donate, go to

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