CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisconsin (WEAU) – Christmas is just around the corner and a Chippewa Falls nonprofit is working hard to make sure kids have gifts to unwrap this year. For more than three decades, The Spirit of Christmas of Chippewa County has been giving gifts to children during the holidays.
âIf you can imagine a gift for a child up to the age of 17, we’ll give it to someone because someone asks for it, guaranteed,â said Glen Zwiefelhofer, President of Spirit of Christmas.
Zwiefelhofer says all a family has to do is complete an application. No questions asked and no financial requirements. He says apps are only handled by a few people to keep as much privacy as possible.
âWe help anyone who needs help and needs help. We give priority to children up to the age of 17, âsaid Zwiefelhofer. The only condition we have is to live in Chippewa County and have custody of the children.
On each application there is a part where gifts like toys, games, etc. can be requested. Zwiefelhofer says the organization is trying to go further.
“We try to provide each child with socks, underwear, an outfit, we have a lot of shoes this year,” said Zwiefelhofer.
Zwiefelhofer says that some of the items kids ask for are things many of us take for granted.
âI looked at an app and there were three kids, and they were ages 8 to 10 to 12, there wasn’t a toy on their list,â Zwiefelhofer said. “It was all the clothes and bedding.”
In addition to all the toys, the Christmas Spirit provides coats, shoes and other essentials like bedding and blankets.
âWe also make toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorants, shampoos, body cleansers,â Zwiefelhofer said.
Anything that is distributed is either donated by community members via tree tags which can be found at over 60 locations in the Chippewa Valley.
“I think this year we put about 2,600 tags, on those tags there are a couple of items that everyone is asking for, if they take a tag off the tree, they don’t have to. fill all of them, they can buy one, two or they can buy all three if they are there, âZwiefelhofer said.
Donations are also made in cash or just for someone who wants to spread some Christmas cheer.
All gifts are wrapped so parents can have fun wrapping them and putting them under the tree themselves.
“When we put a bag of gifts in the car of a lady who had just lost her job and found it out because she emailed us, she sat in the doorway and cried for five or six minutes, “Zwiefelhofer said.
Thanks to a generous community, the Christmas spirit is strong in the Chippewa Valley.
The Christmas Spirit is accepting applications until November 29. Paper claims can be picked up at the Chippewa County Courthouse or online, here.
The gifts will be distributed the week before Christmas in Chippewa Falls, Stanley, Cornell and Cadott.
For questions about gift giving or volunteering, you can call (715) 944-4272.