Jane Melchior is the coordinator of The Giving Tree at St. Martin Catholic Church in Cecil. She moved here 11 years ago and started to help.
“As it grew, I stepped in,” she said. “It became a community event.”
Now First State Bank in Cecil, the Men’s Club at the church, WTCH and WOW radio stations, and various other businesses and private parties all help out.
“We were too small to handle the number,” she said.
A tree at the bank and a smaller one at the church are decorated with ornaments that list the gender and age of children, 14 and younger, in need of Christmas gifts.
As a former kindergarten teacher, she is sensitive to the needs of children. This year, 135 children are enrolled.
“It’s for anybody in the area,” Melchior said.
The names come from the people who use the St. Martin Food Pantry. They start enrolling their children in September and October by filling out a form with age, gender, size and wish list.