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Give a Holiday Gift for Darien's Needy

DARIEN, Conn. – A viral campaign by residents brought in a flood of presents last year when Darien Social Services thought it might not have enough gifts for the needy. Now the department is gearing up for another holiday season, reaching out to members of the community for donations.

“Last year was a very special year,” said Social Services Director Olive Hauser. The department was able to give gifts to 94 children. “We’ve had several people who helped us last year, like the Darien Dog Group , call us up and say that they would like to help again this year.”

The Darien Playhouse will host a special screening of “The Muppets” on Friday, Dec. 2, at 4 p.m. where families can bring gifts in lieu of paying for tickets. Gifts should be new, unwrapped and at least $10 in value. Tickets can be picked up at the Youth Commission Offices at Town Hall from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday and Friday.

This year there will also be a giving tree at Town Hall and at the Darien Rowayton Bank, Hauser said. The tree will be decorated with gingerbread men, each with an attached gift request for a needy child.

Hauser has been calling schools and parent groups to encourage them to collect gifts. The Cops and Kids Adventures group recently dropped off home goods they collected in a charity drive .

“They filled up our home goods closet, which has been getting more use this year than previous years,” Hauser said. Families in need can take supplies like paper towels so they can spend their money on food.

The gifts will all go to Darien families. Sometimes, if Social Services gets more of a particular item than it can use, such as too many baby toys, it will reach out to other agencies and make sure the gifts are used.

“It’s been a rough couple of years for a lot of families. You’d be surprised who needs help,” Hauser said. “Remember that we have families and individuals who are in need." If you’re interested in helping your neighbors, contact Social Services at 203-656-7328.

How are you planning on giving back this holiday season? Tell us in the comments below.

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