The annual Arlington program ‘A Christmas Wish’ provides toys to families in need for the holiday season and has begun to collect donations this year.
Organizers for the program and the Arlington Boys & Girls Club work together to provide a place where low-income families can come to pick out some gifts and other items.
Sara Katanik, one of the organizers of the program, said that they try to give one gift per child, one blanket per child, a game for each family, a stocking and stocking stuffers for each child and a clothing item for each child.
Last year the program ran short on blankets and had to change it to one blanket per family, however Katanik said that they hope to gather enough blankets this year.
‘A Christmas Wish’ is meant to support local kids, said Katanik.
“We do it for the kids. We want to make sure that every child has a present for the holidays,” she said.
She said she enjoys helping parents who need a little support during the holidays.
“I love to see the joy on the parents' faces as they are picking out gifts for their children,” she said. “It makes all the work worth it.”
Last year the program served around 800 children, which was around 300 families.
“Most of our clients are from the Arlington Community Food Bank, but we also serve kids from the Darrington area and the Lakewood area,” said Katanik.
The program serves foster children as well, she said.
Local businesses and organizations are currently collecting donations of new and unwrapped toys and items until Dec. 13.
These organizations include the Arlington Boys & Girls Club, Arlington Grocery Outlet, 7 Lakes Dental, American Legion Post 76, S&S Roofing and Symmetry Chiropractic.
“We are collecting gifts for kids age 0 to 18,” said Katanik.
Gifts for kids age 12 to 18 are always the toughest to get, she said.
“That is the area that we always struggle with,” said Katanik. “We run low every year."
For kids that age, she suggests gifts like gift cards, body wash sets, makeup kits, movie tickets or clothes.
Local banks and credit unions in Arlington and Darrington will also be putting up trees where locals can donate money that will be used for the program.
“We’re very thankful for our community organizations and businesses that help us. We couldn’t do it alone,” said Katanik.
Families in need can inquire about receiving gifts as part of the program at the Arlington Community Food Bank.