Wishing Tree short on fulfilling dreams

In this file photo, JD Nichols, left, and Dawn Ballard organize bags of toys

In this file photo, JD Nichols, left, and Dawn Ballard organize bags of toys

The Wishing Tree program may not be able to fulfil the wishes for almost a dozen children this Christmas season.

Wishing Tree, with help provided by the Independent Pioneer Telephone Association (CC Communications) for the past 21 years, annually hands out toys to families and children. Less than a week remains before the distribution day,

“We started off strong, but finishing up is weak. I have 11 children who were not adopted,” said Dawn Ballard, a human resources generalist with CC Communications and one of the organizers of the Wishing Tree program.

Ballard said volunteers have begun shopping for the families and children. She added donations were low, while some gifts haven’t been turned in yet.

“So I’m getting a nervous about that,” she said “We have sorted, bagged and tagged half of the families to date. We distribute the gifts on Monday.”

Each child has different requests. Ballard said the average cost per child is about $50-$100 with clothes, wishes and stocking stuffers.

“Some people spend even more,” she added.

One of the reasons for the shortfall may be attributed to several larger businesses in the county not donating this year,” she said.

Ballard said ITPA tries to ensure at least one wish is granted, and every child has a new outfit. She said it can be expensive when one considers a set of Legos is $25 or higher. Barbies with an outfit are over $20. She added ITPA shops locally.

The director of the Churchill County Social Services screens recipients based on their household income and determines eligibility. Shannon Ernst said last-minute phone calls from businesses usually enable her department to meet its goal.

For information on Wishing Tree donations, call Ballard at 775-217-9773 or 775-423-7654 ext. 1269 or email dawn.ballard@corp.cccomm.net.


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