Dear Editor,

As the members of Upsilon Zeta wrap up the 32nd year of "Kids of Christmas", we are reminded once again of how fortunate we are to live in this community! Each year we see firsthand the generosity of our neighbors, and former neighbors, helping our youngest citizens have a much happier Christmas. It reminds us of the true spirit of Christmas.

The outpouring of love for these "kids" each year touches our hearts. Ninety-seven kids from 50 families in Aurora, Verona and Marionville each received a new set of clothes, shoes, books and toys from their wish list. Many also received coats, socks, underwear, hats and gloves. It is amazing to see all of these gifts and money donated in just a few short weeks.

When we think about our community (and a couple of anonymous donors from out of state) donating that many toys and clothes each and every year, we are humbled and know that God has continued to bless this project. We are truly grateful to the Holy Trinity Men's Catholic organization, the Order of the Eastern Star chapter #202 Verona, Chariots of Grace Christian Motorcycle Club, Faith and Hope Freewill Baptist Church and so many other wonderful citizens for contributing toys, clothes, shoes and money to the Kids of Christmas project this year.

Our never-ending thanks goes to First Independent Bank, Community National Bank, Great Southern Bank, Walmart and all of the employees of these businesses, for displaying the kids' wish ornaments and providing many of the gifts themselves. We would also like to thank Emily and the Aurora Advertiser staff, as well as the OACAC staff, Shannon, Sarai and Jerri, for all of their hard work again this year. We are very fortunate to work with these great ladies and we really appreciate everything they do to make this project happen each year.

This is truly a community project that involves so many amazing, wonderful people. May God bless each one of you this Christmas and in the new year ahead!

The Kids of Christmas Committee -- Tammi Mattox, Sherry White, Angie Boettler, Therese Kahre, Nicki Slater, Jodi Barnes, Natalie Elliott, Yvonne Sutton and Janine Konstanzer