MARION County residents should be acknowledged for a pair of initiatives that will brighten the lives of many youngsters in Northeast Missouri.
The Adopt-a-Child program being sponsored by the Palmyra Area Ministerial Alliance will help at least 60 children in Palmyra and Philadelphia have a happier Christmas holiday.
The program is designed to provide gifts to children up to age 18 from disadvantaged homes in the Palmyra R-1 and the Marion County R-II school districts. Local residents, churches and businesses in those areas are working to fulfill some of the children's wants and needs that otherwise might go unmet.
The second program that will benefit children in Marion County will come in January, when Birthday Blessings, a nonprofit new to the area and based in West Plains, Mo., begins assisting foster and at-risk children and teens.
Birthday Blessings provides birthday party supplies and gifts in duffel bags. This program will be a first in the area and should be a welcome addition to the assistance provided the foster and at-risk children populations.
Adopt-a-Child has been operating in the Palmyra and Philadelphia areas for more than 20 years. Originally titled Adopt-a-Family, the name was changed to Adopt-a-Child in 2016, when organizers decided to put more emphasis on helping children. Families have not been forgotten, however. Donations made to the program also are used to buy baskets containing food and other household goods that are given to parents when they pick up their children's gifts.
Birthday Blessings was initiated in 2013 in Howell County and has now spread to six counties in eastern Missouri. Even though donations to the program will not officially start to be collected until January, anyone who wants to donate early may do so at the offices of the Marion County Children's Division, 3055 Holman Drive in Hannibal.
For more information about Birthday Blessings and how to make a donation or become involved, go to Birthday-Blessings.org or call 417-372-5306.
Anyone who wants to assist Adopt-a-Child can get more information at 573-769-2504.
Clearly, these are two worthy programs that will benefit in-need and at-risk children and deserve the support of their communities.