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Kiwanis Club helps spread Christmas cheer through lakes area: 'Holiday Wish' nominations, donations being accepted through Dec. 31

It's been about 18 years since the Kiwanis Club of Detroit Lakes and KRCQ Radio first began teaming up to brighten up the Christmas season for families experiencing tough times, by starting up a "Holiday Wish" program.

"It started in 1999," says Kiwanis Club member Carrie Johnston, who is also a member of the Holiday Wish Committee. "Each year, more than 20 families receive donations through our program."

According to Johnston, this is how the program works: People in the lakes area who know of a local person or family facing medical emergencies, traumatic injury or illness, the loss of their possessions through fire or disaster, or some other type of tragic event are encouraged to write a letter nominating that person or family to receive a Holiday Wish gift of up to $250.

"If you know of a family in need this season, please send the committee a note," Johnston said, "and be sure to include your contact information so the committee can follow up on any questions."

These nominations are reviewed by a volunteer committee, who then determine which "wishes" will be granted, based on funds available, she added. All letters must be sent via U.S. Mail to the following address: Holiday Wish Program Committee, Detroit Lakes Kiwanis/KRCQ, P.O. Box 398, Detroit Lakes MN 56502. The reason for this is to protect the identities of the families involved.

"Everything stays completely anonymous," Johnston said. "The families receiving the gifts often don't know anything about it beforehand."

Those wishing to donate money to the program can also use the same address, she noted. KRCQ Radio partners with the Kiwanis to announce the program on air, and also read the letters of the winning "wishes," edited to protect the anonymity of the individuals and/or families involved.

"The whole purpose of the Holiday Wish program is to make someone's holiday a little bit brighter, and let them know the community is supporting them," Johnston said.

Both nominations and donations for the Holiday Wish program will be accepted through the end of December, she added.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 17 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454