Many in our community are struggling just to meet the everyday needs of feeding and housing their families. For some, gifts under the tree may not be at the top of the list this year.

We know the joy a child feels when there is a special gift just for him or her under the tree. Explanations of unemployment and rising food costs are not in the vocabulary of a young child. They just want to know that on this special day, they are cherished and remembered.

The United Way of Midland County Sharing Tree program helps our community fill the local holiday wishes of those in need. Now in its 24th year, Sharing Tree strives to ensure that every person feels the touch of our caring community this holiday season and throughout the year.

“Sharing Tree is another shining example of our generous community,” shared Ann Fillmore, Executive Director of United Way of Midland County. “We are grateful to the hundreds of elves who make it happen. From the local youth group who lovingly tie ribbons around each tag, to the families who find just the right person to shop for, Sharing Tree has become a symbol of caring for neighbors during the holidays.”

A group of community individuals and organizations are once again coming together to ensure that no Sharing Tree wish goes unfilled by holding a Holiday Gala. The event will take place on Thursday, December 4th from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Dow Diamond. Advance tickets are $20 or $25 at the door and can be purchased at Coffee Chaos and Eastman Party Store.  For more information call Peter Baiardi (989) 708-5479.

There is also an opportunity to help meet a targeted need in Midland County. One of our greatest unmet needs is transportation. Requests for gas-only cards and Dial A Ride and County Connection tickets will help provide the resources for many hard working families throughout the year. Tickets can be purchased at County Connection, Dial-A-Ride and at Computers To Go in the Midland Mall.

There are Sharing Tree tags out on trees throughout the community, including United Way, Wal-Mart, Northwood University, Wildfire Credit Union, K-Mart and many area churches, non-profits and local corporations. Computers To Go in the Midland Mall will also host a tree and will serve as the gift drop-off location in the Mall.

Be sure to wrap the gift so that it can be opened during gift-check in, securely tape the tag to the gift and return to any Sharing Tree location by Sunday, December 7th.  United Way will continue to accept gifts at their downtown office through December 19th. For more information, call United Way of Midland County at (989) 631-3670 or visit