Christmas 4 Kids Rotary donation

Lakeview Rotary members presented representatives from Christmas 4 Kids with a donation raised from Rotary’s Wild Goose Chase. Buddy Kness, l-r, Meghan Kness, Angie Deiter, Ronne Lindsay, Junior Gabriel, Andrew Rucker, Audrey Rucker, Trevor Stancliff, Kenny Winebrenner.

Christmas 4 Kids received a $4,750 from Lakeview Rotary on Wednesday, July 21. Proceeds for the organization were raised through ticket sales for Lakeview Rotary’s annual Wild Goose Chase fundraiser, which this year was held as a drawing.

Christmas 4 Kids was founded in 2017 by Junior Gabriel and his daughter, Amanda Gabriel. It began as an effort to provide warm coats for children during the winter season. Held as an event at the Lake County Fairgrounds, Christmas 4 Kids is typically a large community affair, with s’mores around the fire, pictures with Santa, games and more.

A few years ago, Toys for Tots heard about the effort and provided toys that could be handed out to children as a part of Christmas for Kids.

In 2020, the shipment from Toys for Tots was so large that there are still two storage units full of toys ready for this year.

The money from Lakeview Rotary will allow Christmas 4 Kids to purchase a permanent storage container for leftover toys. Currently the organization pays rental fees for three storage units — one to house the supplies that are used to put on the event each year and two to hold the leftover toys. Fairgrounds Mgr. Ronne Lindsay noted that rental fees for each storage unit run $1,200 a year — one is rented at a discounted rate from Bj’s Storage — so having a permanent storage container will save Christmas 4 Kids thousands of dollars per year.

As another group, Share the Warmth, focuses on providing warm coats for local children, Christmas 4 Kids has shifted its focus to collecting winter socks, hats and gloves to be distributed.

Lindsay said Christmas 4 Kids has received an incredible amount of support from the community and from local businesses. The event grows each year, she noted. In 2020, over 600 people visited the fairgrounds for the event. She expects this year that number will grow to at least 750.

Donations to Christmas 4 Kids can be made directly at Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union or checks made out to Christmas 4 Kids can be mailed to the Lake County Fairgrounds at 1900 N. 4th St., Lakeview.

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