Small Towns: 'Christmas Crusade for Kids' helps families in Winneconne

WINNECONNE, Wis. - In the Village of Winneconne, home to about 2,500 people, it's common to get into some small talk at the local Shopko.

What's also part of the norm is the spirit of giving during the holidays through the Christmas Crusade for Kids.

It's a gift drive, put on by the local police department, just to make sure this community's next generation doesn't lose that spirit.

"I see these children," explained Tiffany Zarling, administrative assistant for the Winneconne Police Department. "I see them in the mornings, I see them when I drive through the community and in the grocery store. They have no idea who I am, but I know that I helped put a smile on their face and made a difference."

"It's not just cops shopping for kids, though. This is truly a group effort.

People throughout the community donate their time, money and gifts," said Officer Adam Kelm.

Everything is purchased by anonymous shoppers who step it up for their neighbors.

"They give us a pretty good list," said Officer Kelm. "Either clothes, toys, stuff for school, shoes, sporting goods, just a whole range of items."

The piles of gifts actually take over the police department's hallways for a few weeks every year.

"The deeper the piles get, the greater you know the community is taking care of each other," said Zarling. "I love seeing it fill up, I love having everything in the way and a little unorganized."

And it's more than just 71 kids who now have a handful of presents to unwrap on Christmas morning. It's a peek into what a small town prides itself on.

"There aren't a lot of places left like Winneconne," said Zarling. "There aren't a lot of small towns where you can still trust your neighbors and there aren't a lot of small towns where people are willing to look out for their neighbors."

The shopping has wrapped up for this year, but the police department is always looking for families to help. If you know anyone, contact them at (920) 582-9944.

 

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