Happy Thanksgiving to this community, and happy 70th anniversary to the Skagit Valley Herald Christmas Fund. It’s been seven decades that the fund has worked to help area families in need have a brighter holiday season.

Each year, the fund signs up families in need, collects large piles of toys and books and then distributes them as well as vouchers for holidays meals in a very short period of time. The fund typically serves about 5,000 children as well as their family members during the holidays.

Registration of qualified families started last week and is open through Dec. 6. Families must be Skagit County residents, have custody of one or more children and have a family income below 150 percent of federal poverty guidelines.

The registration number is 360-419-7182. For Spanish, call 360-419-7184 between 1 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Every year, hundreds of donors give toys and thousands of dollars directly to the Christmas Fund or to partners supporting the fund, including the Marine Toys for Tots.

Volunteers prepare the bags of goods that are later distributed to families, ensuring that each child gets a toy, plus some other items, such as books.

The money that is donated offers assistance long past Christmas, helping residents with emergency needs that arise during the year, such as food or clothing.

The Christmas Fund, which is mostly a volunteer effort, aims to spread holiday cheer to families across the Skagit Valley with help of their caring neighbors.

Learn more about registering, donating or volunteering at goskagit.com/xmasfund.

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