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Spirit of giving
Christmas program continues to fill need
new deh light up a child pic
Farmers Bank and Trust staff members sort items for the 21st-annual Light Up a Childs Life Christmas program. Donations are still being accepted until Dec. 14. Working here are, left to right, Belinda Arias and Tasha Krebaum. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune

Every year, children of all ages fill their Christmas wish lists, hoping the items will sit beneath their glittering tree on Christmas morning. Sadly, for those in needy families, those wishes go unfulfilled.
That’s why for 21 years now, Farmers Bank & Trust has sponsored its annual Light Up a Child’s Life Christmas program. The worthy cause is getting cranked up for this year, said the bank’s Karesa Harrison, who organizes the effort.
 Although initiated by Farmers, Harrison said this is a community-wide endeavor. “A wide variety of volunteers and donors come together to make a difference in these children’s lives.”
Here’s how it works. There will be “giving trees” at both of the Farmers Bank & Trust locations, 1612 Main downtown and at 10th and Harrison, with information on them about the various children enrolled in the program this year. Participants can either donate funds, so the bank staff can shop for the children, or they can choose a child from the tree and purchase items themselves.
She said the basic process has remained the same over the years. The wrapped gifts or donations need to be turned in by Dec. 14 to allow time for items to be purchased, wrapped and/or distributed.
Single children and families will be available for adoption with choices of two, three or more children per family, Harrison said.  
“So many kids in our community will receive clothes, toys and necessities for Christmas because of the generosity of the community,” she said. “Getting these gifts to use in the New Year is a wish come true for these underprivileged children.
“This continues to grow with need,” Harrison said. “It also continues to be rewarding for those who help make it a success. “There’s something special about helping someone else’s Christmas special.”
Harrison added the gift program has “built momentum throughout the years of existence and has become a tradition for many groups and individuals to give back to our community.”
 For more information, call Farmers, 792-2411, or stop by either location.