COVID-19 won't cancel annual Christmas Outreach event

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has cancelled a bevy of annual events and traditions, one thing remains certain: Christmas Outreach is upon us.

The annual charitable winterwear and gift-giving event from Christmas Outreach of Isabella County returns in December. It may operate differently than in years past, but Christmas Outreach will not be canceled.

"The executive board started planning in early summer. Back in July we asked, 'What are we going to do?' and we decided we were going to do it no matter what," says Stephanie Ohms, who runs publicity for the nonprofit organization.

"I think there’s going to be an even higher need for Christmas Outreach this year and that’s why we need to continue on with it."

The biggest difference from years previous will be felt by the families hoping to benefit from the event. Changes have been made to ensure organizers enough time to prepare for the event in respect to the pandemic. New safety measure are also in place.

Registration is a month early this year, held Oct. 12 – 16 and Oct. 19 – 21. Guests register by calling (989) 317-8733.

Guests will then be sent a form asking them to fill out their wishlists and required clothing sizes. That form will be due by Monday, Nov. 9.

Organizers of Christmas Outreach are currently soliciting donations of new and gently-used winterwear, sheets, and blankets, as well as financial contributions.
While each household will receive similar packages as they have before, including winterwear, stockings of gifts for the children, and a gift basket of household items, guests will be assigned a pick-up time. They’ll then drive to the Campus Life building on High Street, another change, where they’ll be handed a bag of goods while still in their car.

For guests without cars, I-Ride will deliver gift bags directly to their homes.

The organization is currently soliciting donations of new and gently-used winterwear, sheets, and blankets. Ohms says the items that are needed most are queen-size bedsheets and large and extra-large winter coats.

Monetary donations are especially welcome.

"We’re really trying to push the need for money donations this year so we can go out and buy things last minute," Ohms says.

Visit Christmas Outreach of Isabella County online for more information on how to register as either a recipient or volunteer as well as donation opportunities. Donations can be mailed to P.O. Box 1227, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48804.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.

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