CF woman finds multiple ways to donate toward holiday needs

Holidays can be expensive, and not every family has the financial status to provide a Christmas meal, Christmas presents or Christmas decorations. Around holidays, and especially Christmas, communities get together to help provide resources to those in need. Cedar Falls has many donation programs and fundraisers to assist families in need and assure they have a happy holiday season. 

Julie Schmitz does a lot for her community around Cedar Falls and Waterloo, and she takes part in many donation programs. She has been donating to Operation Christmas Child for an organization called Samaritan’s Purse since 2008 . These boxes filled with toys and small necessities get shipped overseas to poor, war-torn countries and are given to the kids in need. Countries that have recently been impacted by natural disasters may also receive assistance. These may seem like small things, but Schmitz said, “A box of crayons may be the only colorful thing in their world. A stuffed animal to cuddle may be their only course of comfort.”  

Every box that Schmitz packs includes paper, crayons, pencils, pencil sharpeners, toothbrushes, combs and a stuffed animal. Other things are also added in random selection, like shoes, socks and other clothing items, manicure sets, sewing kits, tools, happy meal toys, drawstring bags and any other donations she receives. Some boxes having gender exclusive things. For example, every box for boys, gets two Hot Wheel cars. 

Schmitz accepts donations all year long, but she typically starts to assemble the boxes around September. She turns the boxes into the collection center (usually at a local church) in mid November, and that way there’s enough time to ship the boxes out by Christmas. The shipment cost is $9 per box. However, for those who want to donate, the $9 is not required. The person who puts together the boxes for Schmitz packed over 2,000 boxes this year. All of the shipment money this year was covered in monetary donations. 

Schmitz also takes part in other donation systems.This year she contributed to an organization to help adoptive, foster and military families locally. This organization is called Kaden’s Kloset. She provided over 60 brand new toys. The toys she donated go to the giveaway for Kaden’s Kloset’s Christmas Wonderland Event. She also participated in Adopt A Family donation center. This year, Schmitz got a tagfor a mother of two. The mother wanted a comforter, so Schmitz donated a bed set.

She said, “There’re a lot of people in the world that need help these days, so I try to do my part.”

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