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Clear Lake brings giving tree back

The photo shows Mirror-Reporter Administrative Assistant Lisa Riggin sorting hundreds of items donated by Walmart for Giving Tree families.

For more than a quarter century, the Clear Lake Mirror-Reporter has partnered with local schools to create “The Giving Tree.”

Forms to sign up for the 2021 Giving Tree were distributed at Clear Lake Schools, Lake Town Charlie Brown and Head Start in Clear Lake, inviting parents who may need a little help with Christmas gifts for their children to sign up.   Forms are turned in at the school and ornaments are created which detail the child’s needs (shirts, pants, shoes, underwear, socks, etc.), sizes, and likes (such as colors, super heroes, unicorns).  

Those interested in purchasing gifts or food cards for the Giving Tree may choose ornaments at the Mirror-Reporter office at 12 N. 4th St.  Wrapped gifts and food cards are then turned in at the newspaper office, where staff remove the Giving Tree ornament and replace it with the child’s name.  Gifts are then bundled for families to pick up.  

This year the Mirror-Reporter was contacted by a manager from the Walmart store in Mason City offering to donate clothing and shoes for The Giving Tree.  The manager said years ago when she was a single mother she greatly appreciated the help of The Giving Tree and thought of it as an excellent way to help the North Iowa community.  Approximately 1,000 items are being sorted by Mirror-Reporter staff.  They will be wrapped and used to supplement gifts purchased by community members.

Financial donations are also accepted to the Giving Tree.  Funds are used to fulfill the Christmas needs of local families. The newspaper utilizes a local 501c(3) organization known as Share Life, making donations of cash and food cards for Giving Tree families tax-deductible.

Last year, The Giving Tree provided food to 195 people and 132 children received gifts.  The community rose to the challenge and all requests for gifts of clothing and food were filled.