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Giving Tree Project

Forest City second-grade teacher Michelle Bunger holds one of the presents purchased and donated for children in the community during this year's Giving Tree Project.

FOREST CITY | For more than 30 years, the Forest City Education Association has organized an effort to make sure all children in the community receive Christmas presents.

Parents came to Forest City Elementary on Dec. 18-19 to pick up wrapped Giving Tree Project toys and clothing for their kids.

This year 160 kids from babies to high school seniors received gifts, according to second-grade teacher Michelle Bunger.

She said she organized the Giving Tree Project "with a committee of many elves."

The "elves" were other teachers in the school district. 

Every year parents in the district are given the opportunity to sign up for the Giving Tree Project.

Gift tags are created for each child. The tags don't have names on them but indicate whether the recipient is a boy or girl, as well as the child's age and clothing size.  

Businesses in town hang tags on their Christmas trees. People in the community come to the businesses to pick tags so they can shop for those children. 

Some businesses have tags for clothing, while others have tags for toys.

The presents are given anonymously. All the parents have to do after picking them up is put their own tag on them, indicating the gift is from them. 

"There's a toy for everyone and four of five articles of clothing (for each child) because the community is so generous," Bunger said.

This year the school district had some donated gently-used clothing available, so families could go through the assortment and pick out what they wanted in addition to the wrapped presents. 

One woman who buys a lot of presents for the Giving Tree Project each year had tears in her eyes when she brought them to the elementary school, according to Bunger.

"It's a cool thing," she said. 

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