Michelle Monroe, St. Albans Messenger
ST. ALBANS — The annual Holiday Project, sponsored by the Vermont Dept. of Children and Families (DCF), is underway at the St. Albans Free Library and three other area libraries.
Each year, DCF hangs the written wishes of children in DCF care, along with those from children in families with which it works, on cards at the library. Residents are invited to fill a child’s wishes by taking a card from the tree, purchasing and wrapping the gifts and returning them to the library by Dec. 21.
The wishes include clothing as well as toys and games.
There are 420 children from infants to young adults, whose wishes are hung by the library fireplace. Roughly half of the children are in the formal custody of the state of Vermont, while the remainder is from families DCF is assisting.
The library and DCF have cooperated in this way for more than 20 years, said MaryPat Larrabee, executive director of the library.
Libraries in Highgate, Georgia and Fairfield are now assisting with the project, and those wishing to help can get cards with wishes at those libraries as well.
DCF gathers the wishes from the children and writes the cards. “Our end is how do we get the people who will fill the stockings,” said Larrabee.
Last year, teen-aged volunteers began delivering the packages from the library to DCF, according to Larrabee.
In addition to individual residents, several area businesses take stockings to fill. PBM Nutritionals, of Georgia, has taken more than 40 stocking wishes this year to be filled by its staff.
Anyone wishing to assist in the program is asked to stop in their library during business hours to select a card or cards.