Giving Tree program invites applicants, volunteers in the Canton area to participate in the program
Thursday, November 7, 2019 - 9:30 am

CANTON – The Giving Tree program invites applicants and volunteers in the Canton area to participate in a program to make it a merrier holiday for local families.

The program provides new toys, clothing, and books to those in need.

The service area includes the communities of Canton, Clare, Hermon, Russell, DeKalb and Rensselaer Falls. Families with children from newborn through 18 and students attending Canton Central and St. Mary’s, Edwards-Knox and Hermon-DeKalb schools are invited to apply. Applications are available at Canton Central School and at the Church and Community Thrift Shop, 7 Main Street, Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Applications are also online at

People may apply through Dec. 6, but the earlier the applications are returned the better the gift selections, since gift pickup appointments are scheduled in the order received.

“Almost all of our families are working families, but wages don’t cover extra things like gifts for their children,” said Frances Bailey, program organizer for the past five years.

The all-volunteer Giving Tree program continues to expand. In 2018 Giving Tree served 430 children, up from about 400 children the year before. “In my opinion, the need is growing and resources are shrinking,” said Bailey.

Giving Tree gift tags for the community to donate toys, clothing, or money will be available on the campuses of St. Lawrence University and SUNY Canton in early November, and local businesses, banks and churches soon thereafter. Also, donations can be given to Church and Community Program, PO Box 55, Canton with a notation for the Giving Tree.

All gifts collected are due back to the Church and Community Program, 7 Main Street, by Friday, Dec. 6. Gift distribution will be at the Canton Fire Department, 76 Riverside Dr., on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13 and 14. Parents are notified by phone of their gift pickup appointment times.

Volunteers are being sought for a variety of tasks, such as moving gifts to the firehouse Sunday, Dec. 8, setting up the tables of toys and clothing the rest of the week, gift distribution on Dec. 13 and 14, and cleanup.

Volunteers are especially needed as “elves” to guide parents and guardians through to find gifts on Dec. 13 and 14. “It’s a job most people enjoy. It’s nice to be helping parents pick out gifts for their children,” said Bailey.

Each family will receive a Giving Tree food certificate, redeemable at Save-a-Lot in Canton, to help families have a special meal to celebrate the holidays. Certificates will also be provided to seniors and people without children at the Church and Community Food Pantry.

In addition to offering a discount on food vouchers, Save-a-Lot also has a food collection box at the store for the food pantry.

Donations have been received from Canton Kiwanis Club for $1,000, and Church and Community Program fundraisers. The Marine Corps Toys for Tots organization is again donating toys for each child. B99.3 collects gently used coats each year and Potsdam Laundry and Dry Cleaners will clean the coats for free.

People interested in helping with the Giving Tree can email Fran Bailey at [email protected].