Need a little Christmas? We deliver.

Everyone needs a little Christmas this time of year. If youíre a little short, donít worry: The Evening Sun delivers. Thatís right, our Delivering Christmas series is back.

For those of you who donít remember this series from last year (too much eggnog can be the only excuse), let me recap.

The idea was born as we brainstormed for float ideas in preparation for the annual Parade of Lights. Our Delivering Christmas theme was such a success - it won us first place in the parade - that we decided to continue the effort through the holiday season.

Throughout the month of December, we featured a Delivering Christmas story each day highlighting a group or event working to help others during the holidays. And we didnít just write about these efforts, we pitched in. By sorting clothes, baking cookies, serving meals and anything else we were asked to do.

We also took our prize money from the parade (did I mention we took first place?) and used the majority of it to purchase books for Toys for Tots. OK, so we used some of the money to buy lunch, but I swear that the majority of it went to books.

The series was definitely a success. It was popular with our readers, the organizations we reached out to were happy for our support and, for me at least, it served as a reminder of what this season is truly about - the spirit of giving.



I know my co-workers will agree with me on that, because, even though we are short-staffed at the moment, we decided we had to continue Delivering Christmas this year.

Thatís right. Weíll once again be making our rounds of do-gooding organizations, resplendent in our signature green aprons, jaunty Santa hats and scarves handcrafted by former ES reporter Jessica Lewis. And for the record, we prefer to be called ďSantaís Helpers.Ē Not elves.

Weíd appreciate it if you didnít point and laugh when you see us. We are, after all, trying to do good.

We donít have the manpower, unfortunately, to make the series a daily feature, but Delivering stories will appear every Tuesday and Thursday from now until Christmas. In fact, our first installment appears today, chronicling Tyler Murphyís day literally delivering with Meals on Wheels.

We missed having a float this year. (Although, in retrospect that may have been a good thing. What with spontaneous combustion and all.) But weíre going to continue helping Toys for Tots. In fact, weíre kicking it up a notch.

Earlier this month, as I was gathering information on the annual toy drive I had a conversation with Melinda Mandeville from Roots & Wings, which coordinates sorting and distributing the items collected during the Toys for Tots campaign. She told me that each child receives a book along with their toys, and mentioned that books were one of the things they always fall short on.

Now, The Evening Sun had felt pretty good about our donation last year - which amounted to about 40 books. But thatís barely a drop in the bucket when you consider that Toys for Tots served more than 1,640 children last year.

It probably wonít come as much of a surprise that we have a lot of avid readers on our staff. Iím definitely one of them. And, of course, itís in our best interest to promote literacy. Our livelihood depends, after all, on people being willing and able to read.

Our goal this year is to help Toys for Tots by doing our own book drive.

But we canít do it alone. Weíre calling on you, our readers, for your help in delivering Christmas to this wonderful organization and all the children and families they serve.

From now until December 15, weíll be collecting new (unread), unwrapped books of all shapes and sizes. (Since Toys for Tots serves children 12 and under, they need board books for infants, picture books for toddlers, beginning reading, chapter books and young adult.)

Donations can, of course, be dropped off at any of the Toys for Tots collection sites. Weíll also be taking them at The Evening Sun/Pennysaver office at 29 Lackawanna Ave in Norwich.

Weíre also planning on coming to you.

Thatís right, our circulation department and our carriers are excited to get involved with our effort as well. Inspired by the food drive postal carriers do each year, The Evening Sun carriers will be picking up donated books along their routes on Tuesday, Dec. 15. (Donít worry, as that date gets closer, weíll publish more details on the collection.)

Together, we can help deliver Christmas to Chenango County.

If you have questions about Delivering Christmas or our book drive, please donít hesitate to contact us at 334-3276, or e-mail me at mstagnaro@evesun.com.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunmelissa.

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