Kent community 'has been wonderful' supporting Santa Fund

The holiday will be a little brighter this year for Kent children, thanks to the Kent Santa Fund that will provide Christmas gifts.

The holiday will be a little brighter this year for Kent children, thanks to the Kent Santa Fund that will provide Christmas gifts.

File photo

KENT — Residents are doing their part to bring holiday cheer to their neighbors facing hardships this holiday season.

The Kent Santa Fund is collecting donations for its campaign that provides holiday gifts to children under age 16 that may otherwise not be able to have items under their tree.

“I don’t know that we’ve seen more families this year,” said Joyce Kearns, administrative assistant at town hall. “It’s that the families we have are having more difficulties.”

Kearns said the pandemic has caused additional financial challenges for many families. Individuals have lost their jobs or had their hours cut.

Nearly 20 families are in the queue to receive assistance this year, she said, but several more may be included.

The fund, which operates anonymously, is run with assistance from New Milford Social Services.

Traditionally, donors will shop for the gifts themselves, with suggestions made by the families.

However, due to the pandemic, the fund has changed the way gifts will be collected and distributed.

In lieu of gifts, gift cards are requested this year. They will be given to participating Kent Santa Fund families who can then shop for the gifts for the children.

“It’s going to be different this year,” Kearns said, noting in past years the fund wraps all donated gifts and large contractor bags of gifts are given to each family.”

“It’s going to be a different feeling to hand out gift cards,” she said.

Kearns said some donors will still drop off actual gifts, which will be accepted, but gift cards are the preferred gift this year.

“The community so far has been wonderful,” the coordinator said. “Donations have been pouring in.”

Kearns will visit local businesses in the coming days to purchase gift cards through the monetary donations the fund has already received.

“The community has always been very generous,” she said.

Donations should be made payable to Kent Santa Fund and mailed to P.O. Box 678, Kent, CT 06757. Donations are accepted throughout the year.

For more information, contact Kearns at adminassist@townofkentct.org or 860-927-4627.