IRONWOOD - The eighth annual Santa's Headquarters project has its gift distribution today from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Ironwood Memorial Building.
This year, the project will help 205 families in Gogebic County, providing gifts to 425 children. According to event organizers, the numbers are up from previous years.
"This shows that a lot of people in our community need help," said Jim Mildren, project organizer and volunteer, "There are a lot of hard-working people in this community, and some only have part-time jobs. It's hard to get by with that, and that is where this comes in."
The entire event is planned by a 10-member committee, but according to Mildren, it takes hundreds of community members to make it successful.
"Santa's Headquarters is 10 people, but Santa's helpers are all of the churches, school districts, businesses and so on," Mildren said. "To provide Christmas to this many people, we need hundreds of people to help, and we easily have 800 to 900 people across the Range helping in any way they can."
Since the middle of November, businesses and organizations have housed Christmas trees, bearing tags with items for location children.
"When someone puts a tree up for us, it's such an honor," Mildren said. "It shows they trust us to provide this for children, and we are so thankful."
In addition to receiving toys for children, donations also come in the forms of winter clothing, blankets, toiletries and other items.
During the distribution, volunteers also wrap presents for families, and a few large items will be raffled off to families participating in the event.
"This is a network of people working together to provide Christmas for children," Mildren said. "With Christmas, you can get so busy that you don't enjoy the holiday, but when you help a child, a light goes on and you start to enjoy it. You're doing what you are supposed to do at Christmas, helping children and helping others."
For more information about Santa's Headquarters, call Mildren at 906-932-2523, or Erin Ross at 906-663-4045 ext. 624.