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Christmas for Kids receives $1K donation

| Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013, 11:30 p.m.
BRIGID BEATTY
Lori Murphy, (left), organizer of Christmas for Kids, holds a toy that will be given to an area child on Christmas. The nonprofit received a gift of $1,000 Friday from Quality Life Services to buy additional toys for children in need. Standing next to Murphy is Lara Johns, QLS nurse liaison and Steven Tack, QLS co-owner and chief executive officer. Seated is Beverly Davis, a resident of Sugar Creek Rest.

Just one day after organizing the preparation and delivery of 365 Thanksgiving meals to those in need, Lori Murphy of Adrian was setting her sights on Christmas.

Murphy, who heads the Armstrong County nonprofit Christmas for Kids, holds fundraising events throughout the year in order to spread joy to those in need during the holiday season.

But the organization relies heavily on donations from businesses and individuals.

On Friday, Christmas for Kids received a $1,000 donation from Quality Life Services, the parent company of Sugar Creek Rest in Sugarcreek Township.

“I commend them for their efforts,” QLS Director of Marketing Kim Clutter said.

Murphy said she has a list of up to 70 children from Armstrong and Butler counties younger than 16 who, without help from the community, will miss out on Christmas this year.

“For the most part, they don't ask for outrageous things,” she said. “They're just grateful for what they get.”

Steven Tack, whose family owns QLS, said he is glad to contribute to an organization that is dedicated to helping others in the community.

“We've been blessed, and it's important to bless others,” he said. “It's a nice feeling waking up Christmas morning knowing you helped make someone's Christmas brighter.”

The number of children helped by the nonprofit depends on how much community support Christmas for Kids receives, Murphy said.

“So obviously, something like this — a $1,000 (donation) — is like gold to me,” Murphy said.

The nonprofit was founded by the late Audrey Johns of Adrian about 17 years ago.

Murphy said she was asked by Johns' family to continue the nonprofit in 2011.

“That year was a big community event, keeping (Johns') memory alive,” Murphy said. “Each year, it grows and more people get involved. The amount of people who come out to help is amazing.”

She said this year's response at Thanksgiving was tremendous, with people donating food, money and time for the meals, which were prepared in the Washington Township fire hall.

The prothonotary's office in the Armstrong County Courthouse and the county's 911 center each collected a truckload of donations, and the Armstrong Beer Distributor and area Masonic Lodge donated turkeys, Murphy said.

She said monetary donations have come in from other area businesses including the Eagles Lodge in Kittanning and the American Legion post 325 in Cowansville.

A portion of money collected through fundraising and donations went to the Thanksgiving Day meal fund, and the rest will go toward the purchase of children's gifts in the coming weeks.

Unfortunately, Murphy said, there is a lot of need.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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