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Community to share Gift of Love
November 08, 2012 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen Becca Tompkins (left) with First State Bank and Jennifer Rogers with Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska inspect the Tree of Names that is part of the 31st annual Gift of Love program.

First State Bank, along with Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska and Valley Christian Neighbors in Need, has officially kicked off the 31st annual Gift of Love program.
“This really is a community effort,” said First State Bank marketing director Becca Tompkins. “Without the love and support they’ve offered, there would be so many more children that would not have a great Christmas.

Part of the program is the Tree of Names. Local children provide a wish list of what they want for Christmas. The lists are on the back of handmade paper ornaments and hung from trees at both First State Bank locations in Scottsbluff and Gering. People are invited to take an ornament and purchase at least one of the listed items, then return them to the bank unwrapped by Dec. 5.
Knights of Columbus members then wrap the items for distribution to the children.
Local schools will also be collecting canned goods for the program, which will go to local food pantries. Many schools, along with their Adopt-A-School partners, challenge each other to collect canned goods and build displays prior to pick up. Members of the National Guard help with collection while visiting the schools.

The Truck of Love will be parked at First State Bank in Scottsbluff on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. to accept donations of new and good used toys. A Hummer from the Army National Guard will pack the vehicle with non-perishable food items and the Lakota Lutheran van will accept new and good used coast and donations.

Gifts for local families in need will be delivered by the Knights of Columbus and Valley Christian Neighbors in Need.

“There seems to be an even greater need each year,” said CAPWN’s Jennifer Rogers. “It’s really heartwarming how the community steps up every year to make that no child goes hungry, is cold or doesn’t have a great Christmas. There are ways for everyone to get involved.”

Last year, CAPWN provided 374 families with food through the program and 902 children received presents.
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