For the fifth year in a row, the Fort Mill Moose Lodge is trying to help local families put a Christmas meal on the table and some gifts under the tree.
But they can't do it alone.
Moose Lodge Governor Wyatt Smith said typically, Moose members have enough support from residents and local businesses for their "Help Families Have a Christmas" program. This year, however, donations have been slim. Smith blames the economy for the lack of donations. But the economy isn't stopping the Lodge from trying to help 33 families - more families than they've ever helped before.
The group is trying to collect a turkey, ham and canned goods for each of the families, as well as toys for the children in the house. Each child was asked to pick a "dream toy" that he or she would like to receive, as well as several smaller gifts. The children's "wish lists" are available at the Moose Lodge for anyone interested in donating toys for the children.
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You can donate just one toy on a child's list, Smith said, or you can "adopt" the child and fulfill each item on their list, about three toys for each child.
"All these kids have been humbled. They aren't asking for the world. They're not asking for laptops. They are very humble with their requests," Smith said.
Cash donations are also welcome, as well as donations of canned goods and food.
"Any help is needed right now, greatly," Smith said. "Whatever, from the heart, whether it's toys or clothes or dry goods or frozen turkey or ham, or a monetary donation, whatever the heart feels you might be able to do for these kids is fine and would be greatly appreciated and help us not fail to be a success."
The members of the Moose Lodge, part of the Moose International fraternity, worked with Fort Mill School District counselors and the Fort Mill Care Center to choose the families to support this holiday. The Fort Mill organization has 153 members who work together on community service projects throughout the year.
"One of our early members said, 'No man stands so straight and tall as when he stoops to lift up a child,'" Smith said. "And that's one thing we really remember right around here at Christmas time."
The Moose Lodge is located at 1676 Harris Street, Fort Mill. Anyone interested in donating to the "Help Families Have a Christmas Program" can stop by the lodge after 4 p.m. on weekdays or 1 p.m. on weekends. Or, call 547-4204. Donations need to be made to the Moose Lodge by Dec. 19.