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Annual Christmas Clearinghouse program underway

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While Halloween has yet to arrive, many community agencies already are thinking about Christmas.

That’s because agencies participating in the annual Christmas Clearinghouse program now are accepting applications from eligible families who would like assistance in getting Christmas toys and/or food for the holiday.

“Apply early,” said Sherry Rafferty, family center associate at the Community Action Planning Council of Jefferson County, which oversees the program. “The applications are out there, and it’s open.”

She said she hasn’t received any applications yet, despite the program having opened two weeks ago.

Families that apply will receive toys for their children through CAPC’s “Angel Tree” program. Gifts for the program are donated by shoppers, or “angels,” who pick a tag from the Angel Tree, which will be on display at Salmon Run Mall from Nov. 15 to Dec. 13. Toys, books, clothes or other gifts that children request on those tags will be delivered to participating agencies a couple of days before Christmas.

Gifts for children from birth to age 16 should be returned to the Angel Tree unwrapped by Dec. 13.

People interested in volunteering at the Angel Tree may call Ms. Rafferty at 782-4900, ext. 271.

Not all agencies provide families with food baskets that include all of the fixings for a traditional holiday meal.

The program is income-based. For a family of four, for example, the gross annual income is not to exceed $43,568. People who have questions about eligibility, or the program in general, should call the site closest to them. When people apply, they must present their host site with identification for everyone in the household.

New this year is a site in Dexter, Ms. Rafferty said, because many people who reside in the Dexter area traveled to the Chaumont site to apply last year.

In 2012, 2,636 children received gifts through the program.

Christmas Clearinghouse applications will be accepted at the following locations:

n Adams: Rhode Community Center, Main Street. Applications will be taken from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays until Dec. 6; call Nina O. Hershey at 938-7363 for more information.

n Antwerp: Town Hall, Main Street. Applications will be taken from 5 to 7 p.m. Mondays through Dec. 6.

n Carthage: Village Ecumenical Ministries Food Pantry, South Washington Street. Applications will be taken from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Fridays and from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays through Dec. 7; call the pantry at 493-1341 for more information.

n Chaumont: Presbyterian Church, Main Street. Applications will be taken from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturdays until Dec. 7; call the pantry at 649-2424 for more information.

n Clayton: Call Candie L. Pecor at 686-2212. Applications will be taken only by telephone until Dec. 6.

n Depauville: Applications will be taken from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays, noon to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays until Dec. 6 at the food pantry, 32487 Route 12.

n Dexter: Applications will be taken from 4:40 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays at the Dexter Presbyterian Church, West Kirby Street, until Dec. 3. For more information, call 778-6709.

n Philadelphia: Indian River Baptist Church, Main Street. Applications will be taken from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and from 9 to 11 a.m. Saturdays until Dec. 7.

n Watertown: Salvation Army, State Street. Applications will be taken from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday until Dec. 6. No applications will be taken here from Nov. 25 through Nov. 29.

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