The Giving Tree has witnessed a lot of giving this year, so those less fortunate will receive a happy holiday. The community-wide project helps hundreds of Putnam County families have presents under their tree on the "big morning."
Children 18 years of age or younger receive three gifts each, which can range from clothing like jeans, shirts, pajamas and socks to games and toys.
Last year, 213 families were helped through the Giving Tree. But none of it would be possible without sponsors, such as the Girl Scouts, Civic Fellows at Hartman Center, Greencastle Lion's Club, local churches, philanthropic sororities at DePauw University, local businesses, school organizations, Putnam County Sheriff's Department, Greencastle Police Department and home extension clubs.
"If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be able to do this," said volunteer Ruth Myers.
To receive help from the Giving Tree, families must fill out an application; be residents of Putnam County; have school-aged children enrolled in a Putnam County school; and receive federal, state or local assistance.
In addition, names are submitted from schools, Johnson Nichols Clinic, Putnam County Head Start, CareNet Pregnancy Center and Healthy Families through Family Support Services.
Nine volunteers will be on hand to distribute the more than 1,750 gifts for more than 580 children from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the DePauw University Service Center located on Hill Street.
Monetary donations can be made to the Giving Tree all year round through the Putnam County Community Foundation. To make a donation, visit the PCCF Web site at www.pcfoundation.org or call 653-4978.
The Giving Tree was started in Putnam County more than 10 years ago.