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SPOTLIGHT
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Saint Francis thanks Christmas for Kids supporters

Published on -3/21/2013, 6:57 AM

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Special to The Hays Daily News

SALINA -- Through the support of business sponsors, churches and individuals, the Saint Francis Community Services annual "Christmas for Kids" money and toy drive fulfills holiday wishes for hundreds of needy families.

Last year, the program raised $104,168 in cash and gifts -- enough money to buy presents for approximately 4,000 children and provide 724 families with a Walmart gift card to apply toward the cost of a home-cooked Christmas meal.

Earlier this month, Saint Francis Community Services proudly recognized local companies and individuals with a luncheon for their generous support of the Christmas for Kids program. Nearly 600 businesses and individuals donated money or gifts. Honorees included Great Plains Manufacturing, Coldwell Banker Antrim Piper Wenger, and Blue Beacon International, all of Salina. These businesses and others were honored at the luncheon with gifts of artwork drawn by Saint Francis' children. The presentation highlighted their commitment to the Christmas for Kids program and support. Great Plains also was recognized as the year's largest donor. Its toy and cash donation was valued at approximately $26,000.

"So many individuals get involved with Christmas for Kids on a very personal level each year. We're grateful to them and everyone else for their continued support," said Father Edward W. Fellhauer, president and CEO of Saint Francis.

Saint Francis provides support through foster care, family preservation, adoption, residential care, drug/alcohol treatment, and other services. Christmas for Kids isn't a large program, but it has a big impact. Many of the children served come from low-income or at-risk homes; some never have celebrated Christmas with gifts of their own.

To surprise them with a gift on Christmas -- sometimes a few gifts on their wish list -- serves as a reminder that they're loved, cared for and safe. Saint Francis staff members went out of their way to purchase personalized gifts for the children and, in some cases, their parents.

The Saint Francis website, www.st-francis.org, contains a list of Christmas for Kids sponsors.  Christmas for Kids is a year-round program that culminates each Christmas season.

In 2013, Saint Francis doubles the number of children and families it serves, underscoring the need to continue with a successful Christmas for Kids program. For more information about 2013 Christmas for Kids toy and fundraising drive, call (785) 825-5915 or visit www.st-francis.org.

Founded in 1945, Saint Francis Community Services is a community-based service provider, caring for nearly 4,000 children and families annually in Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Mississippi.

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