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Area volunteer group seeks Christmas donations for kids

Candy canes, wrapping paper, gift boxes, bows needed

Submitted photo A Helping Hearts of MN contactless bin for anyone deliveries and pick up of any angel gifts is located at 306 Main St., Winthrop. Drop-offs are also located in New Ulm and Sleepy Eye.

WINTHROP — With help from the benevolent, a young woman is ensuring kids have a great Christmas this year at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is making the holidays difficult in more ways than one this year.

Laura Diaz of Winthrop created the Facebook group “Helping Hearts of MN” in January 2018 to help struggling families with basic needs. With co-administrators Kenzie Dyre of New Ulm and Rachel Roberts of Sleepy Eye, the organization covers Minnesota.

As the group grew, Diaz added programs to help needy families during holidays. One of the programs was Amy’s Angels, an “adopt-a-child for Christmas” program. Those adopting the children provide gifts for the children so they have something to open on Christmas day.

Last year, 50 children were adopted. This year, the goal is 100 children.

The program is named in honor of a group member who passed away, Mankato native Amy Lynn Manna.

“Amy had a generous heart and showed it by having a helping presence in the group before she died, constantly offering to help people when they came to the group for diapers, food, and more,” Diaz said.

On Dec. 2, Diaz posted a question on the Helping Hearts of MN Facebook site: “What is the one thing you need that you cannot afford right now?”

The group’s Christmas needs list includes toys, wrapping paper, tape, gift tags, boxes and red, gold and green bows, candy canes, point-tipped ice cream cones, white frosting containers, chocolate Christmas candy including sprinkles, lollipops.

To get a child adopted, parents and family members are invited to reach out to Diaz and share information about an angel that needs adopting. Each child is promised a three-gift minimum. Adopters often fill stockings for the children too.

Gifts can be mailed to adopted children or sent to Diaz who wraps and delivers them. More than 80 children were adopted this year.

Contactless donations can be dropped off at 306 S. Main St., Winthrop. A bin is outside the front door for anyone delivering items of picking up angel gifts. Other drop off locations are 419 N. Franklin, New Ulm; and 500 Remmele St. S.W., Apt. B1, Sleepy Eye.

(Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com).

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