Reports are finally in for the charity drives during the Olde Time Christmas celebration in Jim Thorpe a few weeks ago, and prove both residents and visitors put "giving" first this Christmas season. This year's Olde Time Christmas celebration included three different opportunities for giving and each was a big success and benefited many different people.

Soldiers in Iraq were the recipients of over 625 Christmas cards collected in the "Military Mail House" that was located at the railroad station.

Visitors to Jim Thorpe from many states brought Christmas cards addressed "Dear Soldier," while numerous area residents made a special trip to the railroad station to deposit their greeting card for a deserving soldier.

If visitors did not bring a Christmas card with them they weren't left out because Jane Kohler of the Pocono Mountains Vacation Bureau and Ernie Heckman of the Jim Thorpe Chamber of Commerce offered a card to every person who visited the Railroad Station. They reported everyone was delighted with the opportunity to send a personal greeting to a soldier.

Several Scout troops and school classes used this as a project and each child made a personal card with a hand-drawn picture and a very unique message. Cards were sent through Operation Touch of Home, which assists in sending cards and packages to the military.

Hundreds of children of the area had smiles of joy at Christmas because of the Treasure Shop's yearly Toy Drive. Over 1,100 new and lightly used toys were received and distributed through the Toys for Tots program in Palmerton, the Catholic Service Bureau and other children's organizations.

All lightly used toys were washed and refurbished by Peg Dart and her son, Blaine, and the employees of the Treasure Shop, before being sent on their way to cheer a child.

Warm hands are sure to bring warm hearts. Cold weather won't bother hundreds of area children because they'll stay warm with mittens, gloves, hats and scarves donated by visitors and residents to the Lioness' Club Mitten Tree, which was also in the railroad station. Janet Drury and Virginia Dunbar, Jim Thorpe Lioness Club members, distributed the 350 hats and mittens through the St. Joseph Food Pantry, Ebenezer Evangelical Food Pantry, and Head Start of Lehighton.

Additional churches, Scout troops and charities participating in Olde Time Christmas weekends, also reported that people were most generous this year and all are very thankful for the help.

The Jim Thorpe Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of the 28th Olde Time Christmas, is grateful to all those who participated in these charity events and promises even more opportunities to bring cheer to others will be included in next year's Olde Time Christmas Celebration.