Pamplin Media Group – Operation Rudolph gets ready to fly

Pamplin Media Group – Operation Rudolph gets ready to fly

Kiwanis will start delivering Christmas presents to local families during the week

HOLLY SCHOLZ/MADRAS PIONEER - Kim Schmith, left, and Amber Searcy check out some of the presents that Operation Rudolph will be distributing to Jefferson County youth this Christmas.

Gift cards, stuffed animals, shampoo and art kits came pouring into Operation Rudolph headquarters this past week as the last names were checked off Santa’s list.

“By the middle of this week, all the gifts will be wrapped, sorted and organized for delivery. Kiwanis will pick up the bags and start deliveries,” said Kim Schmith, Kiwanis board member and Operation Rudolph coordinator. “The goal is to have gifts delivered by this weekend, so the families know Christmas has been taken care of.”

The Madras Kiwanis Club oversees the community program that serves the lowest-income youth and families of Jefferson County communities during the Christmas season. Schmith reported that the program will serve 347 Jefferson County children and 113 families this holiday season.

The Madras McDonald’s hosted a McCommunity Night Dec. 2 to raise money to purchase toys for Operation Rudolph. McDonald’s Area Supervisor Andrea Brown and some employees then shopped for local youth, focusing on gifts for teens.

 - The Human Bean elves Sydney Shimaoka, left, and Kylee Abendschein show free coffee cards that were donated to Operation Rudolph for local teens.
“The community has really given beyond what I expected,” Schmith said, adding that the McDonald’s donation really stands out. “Andrea and crew also took a volunteer wrapping shift to help finish a lot of the gift wrapping, as did several members of Mid Oregon Credit Union.”

Apex Physical Therapy owner Brock Monger arranged to fulfill wish lists for several local families, and his children even helped select and wrap gifts.

“By the time they were finished, they had chosen 20 children from the community to help create a Christmas of joy and hope,” Schmith said of Apex Physical Therapy.

The Human Bean owners Jessi and John Adkins donated 20 free coffee cards to be given as gifts to local teens. They also did a wrapping shift.

Schmith said more than 30 volunteers have also offered to wrap gifts safely from home and return them to headquarters while many others have wrapped at the Elks Lodge.

“The business donations, community support, etc. has been just amazing,” said Amber Searcy, of Operation Rudolph.

Schmith has heard of small children wanting to give gifts to help other little kids and families making it an annual tradition to sponsor local families.

This holiday season, Operation Rudolph is headquartered at the Madras Elks Lodge.

“This year finding space to do the physical work of Operation Rudolph was quite difficult,” Schmith said. “The Elks have been incredibly gracious in offering their huge activity room. Without this generosity I am not sure we would have been able to accomplish what we’ve done this year.”

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