Chippewa Falls nonprofit spreads the spirit of Christmas
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - Christmas is right around the corner and a Chippewa Falls nonprofit is working hard to make sure children will have presents to unwrap this year. For more than three decades, The Spirit of Christmas of Chippewa County has been providing gifts for children during the holidays.
“If you can imagine any kind of gift for a child through the age of 17, we will give it away to somebody because somebody will ask for it guaranteed,” Glen Zwiefelhofer, President of the Spirit of Christmas said.
Zwiefelhofer says all a family has to do is fill out an application. No questions asked and no financial requirements. He says the applications are only handled by a few people to keep as much privacy as possible.
“We help anybody that needs help and requires help. We put priority on children up through age 17,” Zwiefelhofer said. The only requirement we have is to live in Chippewa County and have custody of the children.”
On each application, there is a portion where gifts like toys, games, and more can be requested. Zwiefelhofer says the organization tries to go the extra mile.
“We try to provide every child with socks, underwear, one outfit, we have a lot of shoes this year,”Zwiefelhofer said.
Zwiefelhofer says some items children ask for are things a lot of us take for granted.
“I did look at one application and there were three kids, and they were in the 8 to 10 to 12 years old, there was not one toy on their list,” Zwiefelhofer said. “It was all clothing and bedding.”
In addition to all the toys, the Spirit of Christmas provides coats, shoes, and other essentials like bedding and blankets.
“We also do toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorants, shampoos, body washes,” Zwiefelhofer said.
Everything handed out is either donated by community members through tree tags that are at over 60 locations in the Chippewa Valley.
“I think this year we put out about 2,600 tags, on those tags there are two or three items that everybody asks, if they take a tag off the tree they don’t have to fill all of them, they can buy one, two or they can buy all three if they’re on there,” Zwiefelhofer said.
Donations are also made in cash or just for someone wanting to spread a little Christmas cheer.
All gifts are bagged so parents can enjoy wrapping and putting them under the tree themselves.
“When we put a bag of gifts in a lady’s car who had just lost her job and we found this out because she sent us an email, she sat outside the door and cried for five or six minutes,” Zwiefelhofer said.
Thanks to a giving community, the spirit of Christmas is strong in the Chippewa Valley.
The Spirit of Christmas is accepting applications until November 29th. Paper applications can be picked up at the Chippewa County Court House or they can be found online, here.
Gifts will be distributed the week before Christmas in Chippewa Falls, Stanley, Cornell, and Cadott.
For gift donation questions or volunteering questions, you can call (715) 944-4272.
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