The Adopt-a-Child program, which is a service of the Laura Miller George Help Center, located at Atkins Place, continues this year. One major change is that no tree could be placed at Walmart. Instead, trees with gift tags (red and green stars) have been placed at Kate’s Hallmark, Melody’s and Mosers.

“We are disappointed in the decision by Wal-Mart management to ban gift trees this year,” Kathy Craghead, Adopt-a-Child coordinator said in a press release from the Help Center. “The decision, made on the corporate level, impacts our whole program.

“However, in true Mexico fashion, the first three business owners we contacted to place a tree agreed. I hope our faithful supporters will go to one of the trees and make the extra effort required.”

Shopping for a needy child makes a great holiday activity for parents or grandparents and children. Leading by example, parents can use this experience to show children the virtues of compassion and gratitude.

The program gives new clothing items and toys to children in need for Christmas. In the past few years, nearly 400 children have participated in the program.

Children age birth-age 14, who live in and attend school 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 social security number and name of school attended by each child.

Application deadline is Wednesday, Nov. 22. The applications are available at the Help Center.

Parents will be notified to pick up gifts by Dec. 18.

There are 3 ways to "adopt" a child:

1. There are Christmas trees inside Moser’s Grocery Store, Kate’s Hallmark and Melody’s with tags stating the child's pertinent information. Tags can be taken from the tree, and presents returned to the store, or the gifts may be taken to the Help Center at 403 Fairground Street.

2. People can contact Craghead directly at the Help Center to receive information about a child or family. The deadline for returning gifts to the Help Center is Dec. 12.

3. People can write a check (payable to the Help Center, which is tax deductible) and the money will be spent on children who do not get chosen from a tree.

"All donations are welcome. Instead of adopting a child, if people would like to help we would appreciate donations of board games, dolls, Legos, family dvds, or Christmas treat bags. In fact, any new (or even gently used) items would be wonderful, " Craghead said.

Craghead stated they have had support from some long-time partners in adopting children. Mexico High School students have participated for 35 years (since 1983) in the program. There are churches they rely on every year for blankets, socks and hats and mittens.

"On Nov. 4, the members of the Freedom of the Road Riders had their annual Betty Adams Memorial Toy Run in downtown Mexico, and brought hundreds of toys, games and books to the Help Center. We appreciate their service so much," Craghead stated

For questions call Craghead at the Help Center, 581-3238. Assistant coordinator is Nancy Goedeke. Craghead and Goedeke are both members of the Help Center board of directors.