<b>Let's make 2001's<br>holidays truly one <br>benevolent season</b>

Williams, like so many small towns, is known for its generosity. Once hardships or tragedies befall us, local residents rush to aid their neighbors.

As the holiday season gears up, there’s always a concerted effort to make this a festive season for those too strapped to pursue holiday activities on their own.

And especially this year, we need to remember those in the armed services carrying on America’s struggle abroad in the wake of the appalling Sept. 11 terrorists attacks on our own soil.

A list of worthy local causes follows:

• Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority will be sending out Christmas boxes containing cookies, candy and holiday goodies to individuals in the military. ESA members are currently seeking addresses. The group will stuff the boxes in the first week of December at St. Joseph Church.

The sorority is also out selling See’s Candy and Pampered Chef items as a fund-raiser. Anyone interested in donating items for the boxes or ordering can contact any ESA member.

Local residents who have friends and relatives in the armed services can forward names and addresses to the following members: Dorothy Miller, 635-4330, Connie Freson, and Carol DeLander, both at 635-4426.

• The Williams branch of the Salvation Army needs volunteer bell ringers for its December fund-raising drive, and donations are crucial for the needy in town. Remember, all the funds raised stay right in Williams to help our own.

Anyone who wants to volunteer or make an early donation can call Linda Russell, chairman and acting treasurer, at 635-4419; Carol DeLander at 635-4426 or Lindie Rodgers at 635-1314.

• Thanksgiving will soon be behind us, but Williams Emergency Food Bank is looking for items to be distributed to needy families in the Williams area during the Christmas holidays. Many items, such as canned goods, non-perishable items, dry goods, turkeys and hams, are still needed to ensure Christmas baskets are full.

The Williams Grand-Canyon Chamber of Commerce has food bank donation boxes for non-perishable items at several locations around town. Sites include Alternative Impressions, Arizona Public Service, the City of Williams/Forest Service Visitors Center, Denny’s, National Bank of Arizona, Pine Country Restaurant, Rosa’s Cantina, The Stockmen’s Bank, Superior Propane, Williams City Hall, the Williams-Grand Canyon News, Williams Health Care Center and Williams Elementary/Middle School.

Williams High School Student Council is also sponsoring a schoolwide collection drive for the food bank. From Dec. 17-21, classes will be bringing in non-perishable items. The class that collects the most will get a pizza party.

Items can also be dropped off at 529 W. McPherson St. For more information, contact Georgia Bowman, food bank director, at 635-9385.

• The Williams Lions Club is again sponsoring the Toys for Tots drive, providing toys for the less fortunate children in the Williams area. Early in December, look for their Christmas trees located at sites around town. Each will be laden with cards listing children who need a Christmas gift.

Anyone wishing to provide a toy for a needy child can pick a card from a tree and purchase a suitable toy for the child selected.

Those who know of children who might otherwise have a bleak Christmas are asked to contact Lions member Edie Phillips at 635-4784 or Norma McDowell at 635-4644, with the name, address, sex and age of the children.

• On Dec. 8, a ChiliFest will be held in The Shed, Williams Skate Park, 5-7 p.m. (or until chili runs out). Chili will be sold for $1 per bowl, and proceeds will also go to Williams Lions Club Toys for Tots drive. This fund-raiser is part of the town’s seventh annual Mountain Village Holiday Festival.

• Another beneficiary to consider is the Williams’ Ministerial Association’s Benevolent Fund, which provides gas vouchers, food boxes and temporary housing to those stranded in Williams. For more information, contact the Rev. Charles Lord, association president, at 635-4692.

Also, anyone who knows of persons stranded in Williams can get assistance for them rolling by calling Williams Police Department at 635-4461.

• Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN), Inc., a nonprofit organization in the Red Lake area north of Williams, operates a food bank and is planning to open a second one soon in Valle. The organization also helps those in need with housing, clothes, furniture and automobiles. All donations are tax deductible. For information, call Barbara Wilson, NHN president, at 606-4616.

There might be other groups or individual efforts underway in Williams the News has overlooked but not intentionally. There are still four editions of the paper prior to Christmas. Just let us know. We’ll be happy to spread the word about your charitable endeavors.

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