WAUKESHA (WITI) -- Christmas shopping has already begun for Mary Beth Winter. But she's not filling her cart with gifts for her children right now. Instead, she's buying buying toys for kids she's never even met!
"It does feel really rewarding and really nice to play Santa," said Winter.
Winter is a sponsor for the Christmas Clearing Council of Waukesha County.
"They are matched with another family in the community or an organization or an individual who actually shops and delivers the toys right to the family," said Christmas Clearing Council Executive Director Ruth Jones.
Sponsored families are referred to the program through a school or social worker. The parents can then provide their sponsor with a wish list.
"The little boy, this year he loves super heroes and they want pajamas and hats and gloves. Of course, the little girl, what do you think she likes? 'Frozen,'" said Winter.
Another way to help is to donate unwrapped toys to the Christmas Clearing Council, which will go to its toy drive for families referred to the program who didn't get a sponsor.
"They're matched with volunteers who escort them through this big room and they get to pick out a few toys, some books, a board game, hats, and mittens," said Jones.
Last year, this effort provided gifts to 4,600 Waukesha County children.
"Our whole mission is to make sure that children from low-income families have a really wonderful Christmas and the kids wake up on Christmas Day just as excited as every other kid in our county," said Jones.
It's an effort to keep tabs on Santa so no children are forgotten this holiday season.
The Christmas Clearing Council is also accepting monetary donations to provide gift cards for teenagers in need.
Meanwhile, a Hartland Brownie Troop will be representing the Christmas Clearing Council in this year's Waukesha Christmas parade in downtown Waukesha planned for Sunday, November 23rd. The girls, ages eight and nine, will be walking the parade route while handing out informational flyers about how to support CCC’s mission to provide for children in need at Christmas who would otherwise go without.
For more information on how you can donate to the cause or become a sponsor, CLICK HERE.