The Tree of Giving Program lends a helping hand to Grant County families, providing children’s Christmas gifts, and this year the process for families to sign up has changed slightly.

Instead of mailing out applications, the Oregon Department of Human Services will have the applications available for pick up at their office at 725 W. Main in John Day. Applications are due Nov. 16.

The change is because of the way cases are assigned, agency officials said.

DHS Volunteer Services coordinates with Grant County 4-H and Families First Parent Resource Center to make the program possible.

This year’s trees with children’s wish list tags will be located at Chester’s Thriftway and the Outpost Pub and Grill in John Day, starting on Nov. 23, which is Black Friday.

Smaller Trees of Giving with tags listing single gift items for kids will be located at Radio Shack and Len’s Drug store in John Day.

On Friday, Nov. 23, Les Schwab Tire Center in John Day will begin their annual toy drive, and Grant County 4-H clubs will hold fundraising activities and collect gifts for the program at local Christmas bazaars.

Distribution of gifts is scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 20.

In order to be eligible for the program, families and children, 17 and under, must live in Grant County. Children visiting families for the holidays from another location and grandchildren not living with grandparents are not eligible; the program aids local families that live, work and attend school in Grant County.

People who know of someone who may need assistance this holiday season can stop by the DHS office for an application.

For more information, call DHS at 541-575-0255.

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