McPherson Cleaners' Twinkle Star program is moving forward, but the organizers are becoming concerned with several stars still hanging on the wall.
Every year the cleaners at 109 Market Street in Lebanon gets a list of needy children and seniors who might not have a gift under the tree, and works to make sure their Christmas is merry. They take a name from the list and create a star describing the age and sex of each recipient and hang it on the wall so generous people can choose a star and buy them an appropriate gift.
"It's getting better," said Jay McPherson. "It started off pretty slow, but we've had some donations, so we think we can get a gift for every name on a star even if they are not chosen."
The gifts will be distributed by Santa at a party planned for Dec. 22 at a local church.
"We have names of kids from age 2 months to age 16," he said. "At the party kids show up with their parents and they have fun for two or three hours and open one present. While they're having fun, we help the parents get the presents into their cars. With the elderly on the list, we deliver their stuff."
It's a bit daunting for employees at the cleaners to see the stars on the wall that have not been chosen. The remaining stars include a 1-year-old girl and several little boys.
Diane Harris with McPherson Cleaners said even more children need help.
"I still have an envelope full of names I haven't even made stars for. Nobody wants them," she said. "We've had situations where one sibling has been chosen and one hasn't."
The cleaners is taking monetary donations so they can purchase gifts for children whose star remains on the wall.
"I've set up a PayPal account so people can donate without coming in," McPherson said. "The account is email@example.com and there is no 's' on cleaner."
To make a donation or select one of the 75 stars with the wish of a child or senior citizen, call or visit the cleaners. Donations and/or unwrapped presents can be dropped off there as well. The special Twinkle Star holiday party is scheduled for Dec 22, when families will receive their donated gifts.
"People are still coming in and taking stars," McPherson said. "We love doing this every year."
Staff writer Mary Hinds may be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 45 or firstname.lastname@example.org.