In the late fall of 2007, the Department of Human Services learned that there would be no Christmas toy project in our community to assist their clients. The employees decided to hold their own in-house toy drive. They knew they couldn't meet the need they saw every day in their work. Later that week the Circle of Friends United Methodist Women learned that the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church had been chosen to receive gifts from a national drive conducted by anonymous donors called Project Noel. Just by chance, these two bits of information came together. Project Noel Altus was born when members of the Altus First United Methodist Church stepped out of the boat to organize a large scale Christmas toy project that involved the whole community. Even though the anonymous donations were not what was expected from the National Project Noel, Project Noel Altus exceeded everyone's expectations.

Mike Pate (now retired), Social Services Supervisor with DHS said, "In my thirty years of working with Toys for Tots, Operation Santa Claus and similar programs, Project Noel has been the most successful. We are very pleased that the church has decided to organize Project Noel again for 2009." Pate went on to say, "I believe Project Noel is so successful because the parents are given the opportunity to choose toys for their own children and to gift wrap them if they want. We also had a large variety of toys donated from the hearts of many different people in the community. The parents were put at ease and treated with great respect in God's house by the church members who distributed the gifts."

Project Noel Altus is now underway. The distribution is housed in the Family Life Center of First United Methodist Church Altus and is partnered by area churches, DHS, Stride Rite Corporation, and many private and corporate members of our community to provide Christmas gifts for children in needy families. Project Noel Altus is everyone coming together to show our children we care for them. It doesn't matter if you are on the receiving end or the giving end, Project Noel Altus is sure to give you a warm, happy heart. It's projects like this that make Altus a great place to live!

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