Over eight thousand gifts wrapped in beautiful red and green bows with hundreds of busy elves working tirelessly. It sounds like a scene from the North Pole, but it was right here in Midland County.

Because of the community’s generous support, United Way’s Sharing Tree program collected and distributed nearly 8,400 holiday gifts valued at over $293,000. Gift requests were as diverse as our population. A 34-year-old single mother asked for clothes for work; a local 10-year-old boy requested new books to improve his reading skills; and a local family asked for pot and pans after surviving a house fire.

Requests for help were coordinated through 37 local non-profit agencies and schools. Sharing Tree tags were distributed through 48 businesses and churches that hosted nearly 80 tree locations throughout the community.

“Sharing Tree is a true community success story,” shared Ann Fillmore. “It brings together businesses, agencies, churches, schools and nearly 340 community volunteers each year to ensure our community holiday wishes are fulfilled.”