St. Francois County Community Partnership's (SFCCP) annual Season of Hope program is in full swing.
With 2018 being one of the program's biggest years as far as participants go, it is sure to make Christmas magical for more than 1,600 children.
The program relies solely on donations and volunteers within the community.
"School districts and social organizations are also depended on in order to gather lists of qualified families for us," said SFCCP board chairperson Rob Baker. "It is so joyful seeing the community come together to do such a great thing for children in need."
Season of Hope is designed for children from birth to seniors in high school. The program is based on a "first come, first serve" basis, with a suggested $75 allotment per eligible child. SFCCP works with other Christmas programs to make sure that there is no overlapping.
SFCCP is still in need of donations and donations will be accepted through Monday. Although monetary donations are encouraged, new packaged toys are also accepted. For more information, call the partnership's office at 573-431-3173.
Volunteers have been very busy the past few weeks.
On Friday, shoppers worked to fill wish lists for eligible students in the North County School District. On Monday, volunteers filled wish lists for 262 Farmington students.
On Tuesday, volunteers shopped for 47 eligible children through Children's Services and the next day, they shopped for about 160 children eligible through the East Missouri Action Agency.
After the gifts are dropped off the packing center on Pine Street in Farmington, the items are separated and distributed to the parents to take home and wrap.
"The kids being able to open the gifts in their own homes is very important to us," Baker said.