A group of non-profits is doing everything they can to ensure kids in the Madras community receive Christmas gifts this year.
“I think kids that have a tough road at home understand the value of these gifts,” said Kim Smythe with Operation Rudolph. “They know what it means to not have.”
It’s an operation going on for three decades, powered by volunteers in the Madras community.
“Operation Rudolph is literally a community-driven project that’s to serve the children of our community that are just disadvantaged, usually financially,” Smythe said. “Jefferson County is the second-most economically disadvantaged county in the state, and so that impacts us a lot.”
From Toys for Tots to the fire and police departments and several businesses around the area, they’ve all come together to help those in need.
The biggest group of helpers is high school students.
“Last year, they did almost 500 hours of they donated and this year they’re over 300 already,” Smythe said. “I expect them to at least reach 600.”
“A lot of the time, it really does, you know, affect me emotionally,” said Ava Leach from Madras. “So knowing that I can come here and make a difference is really, I don’t know, impactful.”
Smythe says a lot of the kids who are on the list for financial assistance are the same kids spending their Christmas break volunteering to help those in the same situation.
“Maybe this lets them have more money to put towards their electricity or just paying some basic bills knowing that their children again are going to have a happy, joyous Christmas,” Smythe said.