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New Visions serves 3,000 children during Christmas event
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New Visions serves 3,000 children during Christmas event

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The annual New Visions Homeless Services Christmas event is always a joyous, fun-filled affair.

That was no different this year — but how the nonprofit organization celebrated the season was.

Instead of one large event, over three nights New Visions served around 3,000 kids in southwest Iowa, either with gifts or gift cards for families to use toward gifts, according to Director Brandy Wallar. Families drove through the New Visions campus, stopping by a series of pods with supplies, toys and food.

“It went really well,” Wallar said.

Wallar explained that area individuals, families and businesses sponsored 1,000 children for the Christmas giving, determined based on information from human services agencies, school districts and elsewhere.

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“Last year we adopted out about 300 kiddos,” Wallar said. “That shows you how amazing our community is.”

The Iowa West Foundation and its Southwest Iowa COVID-19 Relief Fund partnered with New Visions on the event, Wallar said. The move also allowed the organization to expand its base of who it helped.

“We were able to serve families from all of southwest Iowa. Families from Sidney up to Mondamin — those that couldn’t come to the event, we were able to purchase gift cards to send them so they could get their families gifts,” she said.

Wallar thanked Iowa West and the 16 local businesses that stepped up to assist.

At the drive-thru events, Santa greeted families with a stuffed animal and wrapped gift before they moved on to a number of stations. New Visions staff and volunteers handed out a holiday food box with potatoes, fruit and vegetables, milk and a turkey or ham, along with diapers for families that need them. There was also a station for children to pick up a gift for their parents. And the final stations had the toys and other gifts for children.

There were also inflatables and other decorations to add to the festive spirit.

“We know 2020 has been hard. We wanted this to be a fun family experience, where the community comes out and knows we’re here to support them,” Wallar said.

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