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Christmas gifts

The holiday season is supposed to be a special time of the year.

But for some families in Butler County, it can be a struggle, especially when it comes to affording gifts and presents for their loved ones.

To help ensure that all kids have something underneath the tree on Christmas, Blue Valley Community Action is hosting its annual gift-giving program.

The nonprofit pairs low-income families with local businesses and other donors to help with the purchase of holiday gifts. BVCA Coordinator Kelsey Petersen said about 30 families in the county participate in the program each year.

“That’s a lot of kids in a small community that maybe wouldn’t get Christmas without us,” Peterson said, “Even one kid is too many."

Applications can be picked up at BVCA’s David City office at 416 E. St. The deadline for families to drop off an application is Nov.13.

“Families struggle enough day to day that something little like planning for Christmas just completely throws any semblance of a budget off,” Petersen said. “I think that's really cool to bring the community together and support each other when we can’t support ourselves.”

Peterson said trailer manufacturer Timpte is one of the program's biggest supporters, sponsoring as many families as the program can give them. Alecia Schmit, a human resources assistant at Timpte who responsible for the company's involvement with the program this year, said the gift-giving program is vital to the community.

“Timpte is very big into giving back to the community,” she said, adding that it's important for all kids to “feel involved in the holiday.”

BVCA serves communities in counties like Butler, Fillmore, Gage, Jefferson, Polk, Saline, Seward, Thayer, York and also provides limited services in Pawnee, Nemaha, Johnson and Richardson. The group’s main focus is to eliminate the causes of poverty and its effects, according to the nonprofit's website.

BVCA was founded in 1966 and operates more than 30 different programs. Their services include operating food pantries, weatherization efforts, homeless assistance, emergency services, holiday projects and other community services. Peterson said she encourages anyone who needs help around the holiday season to apply for the program.

“If (families) are not able to buy presents themselves, I want them to apply. We will find a way to make it work,” she said. "I don't ever want a family to go without on Christmas. It's such a family event, that I would hate to have that ruined by something as simple as a few dollars."

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News Review.

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