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  • Fairbury News staff

Real-life Santas spread joy

Rod Stevens and Phyllis Nussbaum prepare to deliver Giving Tree presents Thursday at 1st Presbyterian Church.

Thanks to the efforts of countless volunteers in the community, almost 60 families in the Prairie Central school district will truly have a Merry Christmas.

Gifts from the First Presbyterian Church of Fairbury’s Giving Tree ministry were distributed throughout the area Thursday. This means 165 children will have presents to unwrap Christmas morning.

“A couple of the other churches really, really helped,” said Bill Fugate, Mission and Stewardship committee chair for First Pres. “The Fairbury Rotary Club helped as well as many individuals from the community and our church.”

Since each child gets three gifts, almost 500 packages were hauled out of the church doors into waiting vehicles on a frigid morning.

“This is probably about our tenth year,” Fugate added.

Church members gathered to help move, sort and wrap the Giving Tree donations earlier this month following a worship service. Anyone wishing to get involved in the future should know sign-up begins at the area food pantries in October with delivery in December.

Pastor Dan Robertson is impressed with the community response, which seems to grow each year. If the program did not happen, there would be families without presents to open.

“You don’t want the kid to go back to school and go why did Santa not give me any gifts like everybody else got,” Robertson said.

In addition to church members stepping-up to the plate, many businesses, groups and community leaders lend their support by shopping for gifts, donating to the cause or delivering. For instance, the Fairbury Fair donated their recent Christmas parade winnings to the effort. The local schools also help greatly.

“It’s really just a community coming together,” Robertson concluded.

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