Students and staff at the Perry Elementary, Middle and High Schools as well as many members of civic and service organizations in Perry and Dallas County have had a busy December with a variety of fund drives and charity events.

This year 42 students received gifts through the Winter Wonderland Giving Tree program, in conjunction with the Perry Optimists Club.

Many families received home items such as towels, dishes and similar necessities.

Students in the Talented and Gifted (TAG) program raised $876.62 to put toward items for needy students and their families.

Twenty families received basic necessities such as toilet paper, laundry soap, toothbrushes and toothpaste, dish soap, shampoo and other sundries, and 30 students received boots or shoes. Many students also received winter gloves.

The remaining money will help supply even more students with needed winter items.

Coats were provided to 50 students thanks to donations from the First United Methodist Church in Perry and the Pathfinders Class from Panther Creek Church of the Brethren in Adel.

More than 500 items were donated to the New Opportunities Food Pantry by the Perry Elementary School music department.

Faculty and staff shared the joy as well, as $1,500 was raised from the Jeans in the December drive at the elementary school and $600 at the middle school.

Some of the money will also be used after the holidays to benefit students, just as this year’s fund bought students tennis shies, winter wear and even paid to repair eyeglasses.

The middle school had 11 sixth graders participate in the Perry Police Officers Association Shop with a Cop program, and the elementary school also sent many students shopping with a Perry Police officer.

"Thank you to the Elks Lodge for getting food for the holidays out to families in need," said Andrea Brandner, Perry Elementary School counselor. "And thank you to everyone who participated in any of the December giving that took place," she said.

Superintendent Lynn Ubben agreed: "We have such a caring community here in Perry."

Karen Ventura, New Opportunities director, said a partial list of this year’s donors included employees of Abilities Unlimited and of Iowa Hospice and of Stine Seed. Tyson Fresh Meats provided Christmas hams, and donations of food or labor would given by Farm Credit Services of America, Dallas County Hospital and Mercy Clinic.

Local Perry churches included the St. Vincent de Paul Society in conjunction with St. Patrick’s Church, First United Methodist Church, First Christian Church, Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, the youth group from the Christ Lutheran Church in Bouton and the Fairview United Methodist Church Ladies Aid.

Ventura also mentioned the students and staff from the Perry Elementary School, students and staff of St. Patrick’s School and numerous local Perry businesses, such as Hulgan’s Plumbing, Alice’s Haus Dressin and Raccoon Valley Radio.