By Garrett Neese
HOUGHTON - The tree at The Daily Mining Gazette has ornaments, lights and a vast expanse of space underneath.
Each year, it gets filled in through the Salvation Army's annual Cheer Club program, in which toys and other presents are given to needy children each year.
Donation boxes are located at the Salvation Army, Gazette, Walmart and the Calumet and Hancock Superior National Bank.
The Salvation Army is accepting donations of both toys and food. Gifts are given to children up to 16. Maj. Mark Brown said there is a particular need for gifts for teenagers.
The deadline for gifts is Dec. 16 or 17, Brown said.
"Although we'll take them up to the distribution day, which is the 20th, we like to have them earlier, so we can organize them better," he said.
Though its Canathon is over, the Salvation Army will take food donations through Dec. 10.
Brown said with many people out of work, the Cheer Club continues to be necessary.
"Put it this way: The economy here is pretty stagnant, and we don't have new jobs coming in, and that's the reason why people need the help, because there's just not that many new jobs coming in, so it's hard for them to improve their financial situation," he said.
Gazette Publisher Michael Scott said he's happy to continue the longstanding relationship with the Salvation Army, which goes back at least two decades.
"The Daily Mining Gazette is pleased to again work with the Salvation Army as a Cheer Club drop point ... we look forward to making this another successful year for them," he said.
Brown said volunteers are also needed for bell-ringing and in the building for tasks such as sorting food and removing price tags from toys.
To volunteer or for more information, call the Salvation Army at 482-3420.