Bags and bags of Christmas for Kids gifts were waiting for over 116 children and their families Wednesday night at the Shell Lake Community Center, thanks to all the dedicated people the kids didn’t even know.

It was the culmination of three separate work days to bring this happy occurrence to a joyful end. Starting with raising the money for this project by all departments of law enforcement waiting tables at the Spooner Family Restaurant, then shopping and wrapping the oddly shaped gifts, to the best night of all for the Washburn County Sheriff’s Office-sponsored party, giving each family the prized things the kids requested.

The cookie buffet was set up and the chocolate and white milk flowed. Santa, in all his glory, was anxious to hold each and every child in his lap as many kids said a sincere thank you for whatever was in their large bag.

Thanks too were given to the uniformed officers in attendance, along with the EMT’s, the State Patrol and others in law enforcement personnel who considered this evening as twofold; a way to give a Christmas to kids who have had a rough year and to let these kids know that even though the officers may have had an unpleasant part in the kid’s lives during the year, that they were on their side and working on their behalf.

There were new families there who never thought they’d be in the financial position they were in due to job loss and were grateful for the gifts, and one sixty-seven-year-old grandmother not only took home bags and bags for her dozen grandchildren that she tends, but the staff made sure she took home a gallon of milk too.

The music played, the snacks were served and there were a lot of kids anxious for Christmas to arrive so they could dive into their bags and open their gifts. Two of the children brought gifts to Santa and he also got lots and lots of hugs and quiet, thank yous. Parents also voiced their thanks, many of them saying this is these were the only presents the kids would get this year.

Hopefully, these children will remember this night as the years pass; remember that others worked hard on their behalf, so they could have a Merry Christmas.

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