The holiday spirit comes early this Saturday with the second Christmas at The Bridge event in Webster City.
This event offers the public a chance to visit The Bridge, located at 905 Des Moines Street, and pick out a gift for someone they care about. Community members and businesses have donated about 500 items for the event. Items include toys, clothes, tools, stuffed animals, gift cards, books and much more.
Event volunteer Marsha Halbach said the first Christmas at The Bridge event last year was a huge success. Over 300 people came to pick out presents for their children, parents, friends and neighbors. This year, local businesses including Sports World, Dairy Queen, Leon's Pizza and more gave 38 gift certificates totaling at $365 for the event.
Marsha Halbach arranges some of the 500 gifts that were donated to this year’s Christmas at The Bridge event. Those gifts not picked at the event will be donated to Upper Des Moines Opportunity’s Angel Tree program.
"We've had really good community support. Last year was great. This year, the businesses in town really went above and beyond what we had hoped for," Halbach said.
From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., visitors will be able to pick out a present, wrap it up with the help of volunteers and create a card for the person they're giving it to. There is no charge to attend or pick out a present. Refreshments will be served.
The event began last year when Halbach and others became aware that several families at the Webster City Church of Christ were having financial troubles and were concerned that their Christmases would be a bit sparse.
"Instead of just doing something on a small scale for a couple families, we decided that if it was worth doing, we would do it as a community," Halbach said.
Halbach said the event is open to all community members and not just those in poor financial situations. She said Christmas at The Bridge is a good chance for families to pick out Christmas presents for each other with a variety of choices for all ages.
"The spirit is one of a lot of excitement," Halbach said. "On TV, you see people shoving and elbowing each other to get to gifts when Christmas shopping. Last year at The Bridge, it was just a lot of good-hearted folks having a good time."
For Halbach and about 50 volunteers from the Church of Christ and around the community that have been preparing for the event, Christmas at The Bridge is a chance to show generosity in the community. Her own children are drawing names to see which sibling they will be picking out a gift for at the event.
"It just generates that excitement for kids to know they have their gift and it's ready and waiting. I think a lot of times, kids are already excited about what they're going to get and what's in it for them. This turns it around a little bit to know they'll be able to give something and have anticipation for Christmas in a different way," Halbach said.
For more information, go online to facebook.com/ChristmasAtTheBridge