The program is for children birth to 16

The Help Center, located at 716 East Breckenridge in Mexico, is once again sponsoring its Adopt-a-Child program which gives new clothing items and toys to children in need for Christmas. Area residents or community groups may "adopt" a child or children in need to help provide them with a happy holiday season.
Children age birth to 16, who live in Audrain County, and whose parents have a demonstrated need for assistance are eligible. Only custodial parents and legal guardians may apply for assistance. The application requires the social security number and school attended by each child.
The deadline for applications is Wednesday, Nov. 27. Applications are available at the Help Center. Parents will be notified to pick up the gifts by Dec. 18.
Anyone with questions may contact Program Coordinator Kathy Craghead at 581-3238 for more information. Nancy Goedeke is the assistant coordinator.
This year, The Mexico Ledger will highlight the 12 'neediest' children's stories and information on its front page starting Nov. 27.
For those willing to "adopt" a child, there are three options.
Beginning Nov. 30, there will be a Christmas tree inside the northeast entrance of Walmart with tags stating the child's pertinent information. Shoppers select gifts, pay for them, and then leave them at the Service Desk for pick up by the Help Center. "Shopping for a needy child makes a great holiday activity for parents or grandparents and children," said Craghead. "Leading by example, parents can use this experience to show children the virtues of compassion and gratitude."
Those persons or groups interested in directly "adopting" a child or children may contact Craghead at the Help Center to receive the pertinent information. The deadline for returning gifts to the Help Center is Dec. 12. "We are grateful for the area residents who step up and help children at Christmas," said Craghead.
Another option for people willing to help is to write a check (payable to the Help Center, which is tax deductible) and the money will be spent on children who do not get adopted.
"All donations are welcome," said Craghead. "Instead of adopting a child, if people would like to help we would appreciate donations of coloring books, crayons, family dvds, or Christmas treat bags. In fact, any new (or even gently used) items would be wonderful."
This long-running annual program has helped more than 300 children annually in the last few years. "We have had support from some long-time partners in adopting children," said Craghead. "Mexico High School students have participated for 30 years (since 1983) in the program. The MHS Alumni Facebook group members have been very generous in making donations, led by Lisa Davis Oviatt. We also receive many toys each year from the annual Betty Adams Memorial Toy Run sponsored by the Freedom of the Road Riders (FORR) Local # 13 (Mexico)."
In conjunction with the Adopt-a-Child program, the local Walmart is partnering with the Salvation Army to have a "fill the truck" event Dec. 7. Customers will be invited to purchase a toy, and leave it in a truck near the entrance. These toys will be donated to the Help Center, which is the Salvation Army's presence in Audrain County.