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Oxford Christmas Store application deadline nearing

Oxford Christmas Store, a community effort to share the joys of Christmas with the children of Oxford and Lafayette County, is preparing for its 40th year of service.

Again this year, the Rotary Club of Oxford-Ole Miss is teaming with the Interfaith Compassion Ministry to provide toys and books for eligible children in the community who might not otherwise have Christmas.

Applications are now available at the Interfaith Compassion Ministry (ICM), 904 North Lamar Blvd. in Oxford.

Applicants are requested to present the following items to the ICM, along with completed applications: proof of total household income, a picture ID and Social Security card or birth certificate for each child.

The deadline for applications is Oct. 19 by 5 p.m.

Applications are received from schools, churches and the Interfaith Compassion Ministry for children up to age 14 who qualify. Only one form per family should be completed. Families eligible to participate will be notified by mail so it is important to provide a valid mailing address and phone number on the application.

Teaming up

Last year, Rotary International provided a District Simplified Grant in the amount of $2,000 to support this project. Combined with community donations of more than $23,000, Rotarians and ICM gifted two books, two toys and fruit for the 625 children from 240 families eligible to participate. Also, the Oxford-Lafayette Literacy Council enrolled 55 new children for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, enabling each to receive a free book monthly until age 5.

Each parent or guardian will be able to select an age-appropriate reading book for each of their children from the Christmas Store book center. In addition, invited families will receive fresh fruit donated by Oxford-Ole Miss Rotary and Taylor United Methodist Church. Toys will be wrapped upon request by community volunteers.

The Oxford-University community and Lafayette County residents are encouraged to continue support. Organizers said it is residents that have made a difference in the ability of Oxford Christmas Store to provide books and toys for children at no charge.

New toys and monetary donations are always welcome. Toys may be dropped off at the Interfaith Compassion Ministry or a Rotarian will pick up toy donations.

A gift card or a new, unwrapped toy or book appropriate for a boy or girl up to age 14, or a donation of $30 also will help with the project.

For more information on volunteering or if you have a book for a club member to pick up, contact the Rotary Club of Oxford-Ole Miss at oxfordchristmasstore@gmail.com or call 662-259-7150.

Monetary donations may be sent to The Christmas Store, P.O. Box 1686, Oxford, MS 38655. Donations also may be made online at www.oxford-olemissrotary.com.