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Santa kids

Area youth were getting into the holiday spirit by volunteering at Heart to Heart this week

December 16, 2010
By Deb Gau

MARSHALL - When school let out early in Marshall on Wednesday, there wasn't any question about what to do with the extra time for some kids. It was time to pass the tape and scissors, and get to work.

"This is too small. You take it," said Justin Mettling, passing a sheet of wrapping paper across the table to Amira Hasch and Mikayla Campion, who had a less bulky package to wrap. The kids, all part of a youth group from Living Word Lutheran Church, were volunteering to help wrap presents for Heart to Heart yesterday afternoon.

"It's fun because you're helping people who aren't able to afford gifts," Reece Winkelman said of volunteering.

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Local kids wrapping gifts for Heart to Heart

Plus, added Samuel Gleason, "It gives us something to do."

Kids and teens from around the Marshall area have been getting into the holiday spirit by helping out with Heart to Heart this week at the Marshall National Guard Armory. The local charity is busy preparing gifts and holiday food packages for distribution to needy families this weekend. And while one of the Marshall public school district's scheduled early dismissal days made it easier for young volunteers to join in, kids said they were there for a chance to do something good.

"It's good to help out," said Abdi Ali, one of a group of teens helping to take a count of gift packages for different age groups. Ali said he and classmates were volunteering as part of a school project.

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Photo by Deb Gau
Local girls Maddy Sook, Sadie May Wasberg, Marah Mulso and Julia Marshall helped sort donated gifts for Heart to Heart by age group on Wednesday afternoon.

Lots of young volunteers came to the Armory along with school or church groups. The Lakeview School student council stopped by on Tuesday afternoon, carrying armloads of presents for teens.

"It's kind of a tradition at our school. We do this every year," said Lakeview student Chelsey Johnson. Students raise money, and then go shopping for donations with older kids in mind.

"Everyone always decides to get gifts for young kids," and teens can sometimes be left out, said Lakeview student Spencer Larsen. "We thought, we're teenagers, so we went and got things that we would like."

Another group of students from Marshall High School got involved by making gifts. Students in MHS shop classes built about 200 wooden game sets that they donated to Heart to Heart, said student Spencer VanOverbeke.

"They did a lot of work putting them together," VanOverbeke said. Then, members of Marshall FFA helped to add some finishing touches to the games and delivered them on Wednesday.

MHS student Craig Fischer said it was fun to get a chance to help other people. Fischer planned to be back on Saturday, when the care packages are distributed.

"I get in the back room the day they actually give out the turkeys, and help with the turkeys," he said.

Heart to Heart organizers said Wednesday that gifts are still needed for boys ages 1 to 2 years, and for both girls and boys ages 11 to 18. More information is available online at



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