WINDOM ― In its third year of doing a Giving Tree, Windom Area Health (WAH) will give Christmas presents to 126 kids in Cottonwood and Jackson counties.

The Giving Tree began in 2018 with sponsorships for 58 Cottonwood County children, then grew to 71 children in Cottonwood and Jackson counties last year. The goal for 2020 was to support 100 kids.

"With COVID, we thought that would maybe be a stretch," said Kim Armstrong, WAH Executive Director of Compliance and Foundation/Auxiliary, and now head chair of the Giving Tree. "We are so impressed that the response was overwhelmingly, 'Yes.'"

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The Giving Tree is made possible by donations from the city of Windom, Sanford Clinics in Windom and Mountain Lake, Windom Family Medical Clinic, Windom Fire Department, Windom Police, Windom Emergency Services, Windom Area Chamber of Commerce and the Windom Kiwanis Club. A total of 357 presents were purchased, for an average of more than two gifts for each of the 126 children.

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Participants were given basic information about each kid, such as sex, age, clothing size and a wish list. They brought the unwrapped gifts to Armstrong, who wrapped them and will hand them off to a silent partner who will deliver the presents to the families.

"I have felt every day in December like it's Christmas," said Armstrong, adding that her office was overflowing with gifts.

New this year, the Giving Tree partnered with the Chamber's event "A Drive Through Christmas Experience." The Windom Fire Department and EMS drove the gifts in a parade around Windom Thursday evening, and the gifts were transferred afterward to the silent partner for delivery.