While we prepare to welcome family members to our homes for the holidays, or prepare to travel across the state or the country, packing presents into our luggage or the trunks of cars, remember the less fortunate who may not have the money to buy their own gifts or have anyone from whom they will receive a gift.

Every year, local nonprofits, organizations, clubs and government agencies step up to the challenge to provide gifts and well-wishes to poor children and seniors who are in need of a little holiday cheer.

In the Sedona area, the Sedona Fire District, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 3690, Sedona-Verde Valley Firefighter Charities and the Marine Corps Reserves will host toy collection drives Saturday, Dec. 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Safeway in West Sedona and Clark’s IGA — formerly Weber’s IGA — in the Village of Oak Creek.

Verde Valley Toys for Tots provides gifts to children in Cottonwood, Camp Verde, Clarkdale, Rimrock, Beaver Creek, Jerome and Cornville. The organization had Cottonwood police officers, firefighters and U.S. Marines stationed at Walmart on Dec. 3, collecting toys from shoppers at the entrances and in the parking lot.

If you are unable to drop toys off in person, you can donate financially at toysfortots.org, and use the drop-down menus to search for local campaigns.

Verde Valley Caregivers Coalition’s annual Holiday Giving Tree project launched its collec­tion drive for seniors this week with trees at the Oakcreek Country Club in Village of Oak Creek, and at the Camp Verde Community Library, Cottonwood Public Library and Sedona Public Library.

Select gift tags from the trees, purchase the needed items and return the wrapped gift to a box located near each tree. These older adults typically ask for warm socks, slippers or a blanket.

The VVCC collects these items for seniors in our community, many of whom have no family nearby or no family at all. According to the VVCC, many seniors in its program state that these community gifts are the only ones they receive during the holidays.

The VVCC’s trees will be up through Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Local banks and other businesses also collect donations and gifts through similar programs, so as you’re doing you holiday shopping or banking, consider taking one of these tags from their trees and bulletin boards, buying a few gifts and returning them for children and seniors in need.

We will also be running press releases on the pages of our newspaper as we receive them from readers, indicating where and how you can donate a gift.

The cost to you is relatively inconsequential, but the joy on a child’s face or the warm feelings in a senior’s heart remembering holidays long past is invaluable.

Christopher Fox Graham

Managing Editor