This is the 10th year that FOP Urbana Lodge 93, in conjunction with the Urbana Police Division, will be working with city residents to ensure the holiday season is a little brighter for local youngsters.
“Anyone who knows of a child who might be in need of a pick-me-up gift this Christmas season can fill out a form,” said lodge member Josh Jacobs. Registered children must live in Urbana and be 12 years old or younger.
Registration forms are available now just outside the Police Division window in the lobby of the Urbana municipal building, 205 S. Main St. Forms can be filled out on site or taken home, filled out and returned.
On the forms are spaces for the child’s name, address, age, gender and interests.
Jacobs said it is preferred to have all forms turned in by Nov. 30. He said monetary donations are not sought, but some people prefer giving money. Lodge members go shopping for the children with those funds.
On Dec. 2, visitors to the municipal building lobby will see the Giving Christmas Tree sprouting tags, each with the age, gender and interests of a child. Names won’t be on tags. Anyone with the Christmas spirit can select a tag, purchase a suitable gift of any price and return it to the Police Division for wrapping.
Jacobs suggests that anyone wishing to grab a tag should get there quickly. “Normally, we have more wanting tags than we have tags to give out. Within a couple days they’re gone,” he said.
Lodge members will deliver the gifts a couple days before Christmas.
Last year, 96 children from 37 Urbana families received gifts, Jacobs said.
“This community is awesome, to say the least, when it comes to participating in this,” he added. “It makes you smile. Even with the hustle and bustle of everyday life, people are helping complete strangers they’re not going to meet. It’s a touching thing.”
For more information, Jacobs can be contacted at the Urbana Police Division, 937-652-4350.
Kathy Fox can be reached at 937-652-1331, ext. 1773.