By HANNAH SIEVERT
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY
For Kim Schmith, one of the best parts of her work is seeing gifts in the hands of kids who need them.
“There were three little girls, 3, 5 and 6, you know coats bikes helmets, and they were laughing on the sidewalk. I was like, you know, that’s it,” said Schmith, coordinator for Operation Rudolph.
Operation Rudolph has run on and off for several decades, taking in gift donation from community members and the Central Oregon Toys for Tots program to distribute to kids in Jefferson County.
Schmith started growing the program last year, recruiting volunteer groups to help wrap, getting the word out to the community about the need for donations.
“This year, those groups were knocking on my door saying, are you doing it? Absolutely,” she said.
On Monday night, Madras High School students helped organize and wrap presents.
Groups like Lyle Gap 4-H and Key Club volunteer to wrap gifts.
“I want them to understand volunteering,” Schmith said. “I want them to understand not everybody has a nice Christmas, and what can you do about it.”
Last year the program served more than 400 kids. And this year more than 175 people volunteered to help wrap.
“I can’t imagine what next year’s going to be like.”