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Friends in Need prepares for Share the Joy holiday programs

The Friends in Need Food Shelf is kicking off its Share the Joy program. Here are the details:

Thanksgiving and Christmas help

Come to the food shelf on one of the following dates to sign up for Share the Joy: 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24; 5-7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28; 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30. No appointment is needed and there is no advantage to lining up early. You will sign up for Thanksgiving and Christmas at the same time. No transportation will be available for these interviews, so plan accordingly. Please bring a picture ID and a proof of address (like a bill) and be prepared to list some gift ideas for your children (around $30 per child.)

To donate to Thanksgiving program

There are two ways to help. The easiest way is to donate $40 to help defray the costs of the food baskets. Please send your check to Friends in Need Food Shelf, P.O. Box 6, Cottage Grove, MN 55016. The other way is to purchase the food yourself and assemble your own basket. Many churches do this and they have a list of items needed. We need to know by Nov. 14 if you plan to donate your own basket. It should be brought to the American Legion Post 98 on Broadway in St. Paul Park between 8-8:30 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24 (use the back door please).

To receive Thanksgiving help

For those who have registered, the distribution will be from 9-10:45 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 24, at the back door of the American Legion address above. You need to bring your ID, a current bill and the colored paper you received when you signed up.

To receive Christmas help

Those who have registered on one of the above dates will be given a colored slip of paper to bring in from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, to pick up their gifts at the Cottage Grove National Guard Armory. Please come at the specified time shown on your paper. (Note: The food shelf will be open for their regular Tuesday hours during the holiday season but will be closed on Christmas Day (Wednesday) and New Year’s Day (Wednesday).

To adopt a child/family

Contact your local church or call Kris at 651-458-3044 starting the first week of November. Let her know how many children you want to sponsor (at around $30 per child) and she will match you up with someone. If you are going through your church, we hope to have the children’s names out to the churches by Nov. 12. On Saturday, Dec. 14, please bring your gifts to the Cottage Grove National Guard Armory between 8-10 a.m. They should be gift wrapped and marked with the child’s name and family number. If you have a family, please put all the gifts in a large garbage bag and mark it clearly with their family number. Please do not send food, as the food shelf will be open for clients to get food. If you would like to defray the cost of Share the Joy, send a check to the food shelf at the above address. All donations are greatly appreciated as this an expensive time of year for the food shelf.

Other volunteer opportunities

Share the Joy will need volunteers for both the Thanksgiving Basket program from 7:30-8:45 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 24, at the St. Paul Park American Legion Post (back door) and from 8-10 a.m. or 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at the Cottage Grove National Guard Armory for the Christmas program.

Thanks so much for your incredible support. Because of you, we are able to help over 600 families have a better holiday season.

-Kris Richard and Kari Parrish, Share the Joy coordinators