Late Thanksgiving means rush is on for Chatfield Christmas Project

Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

The Chatfield Christmas Project, which has brought a little Christmas to children newborn to 18 years old for approximately three decades, is on a compressed time schedule this year due to the late Thanksgiving.

The Chatfield Christmas Project has provided the means by which area families who require a little help can give their children gifts.  The program, based at Chatfield Lutheran Church is what the Rev. Nissa Peterson calls “a really awesome ministry for our whole community.”

The project, which lends a hand to any family in the Chatfield School District who applies, has made a difference for youth to age 18 through the joy of having new toys from Santa and their family receiving a tote of groceries, toys and clothes for them, and a quilt from the Chatfield Lutheran Quilters. 

This year, however, there’s a rush on that, as the local angels who have made the project possible noted that the calendar is in a hurry; historically, organizers such as Heather Hopp and Victoria Dietz, along with other church and community volunteers, have had more time to collect and sort donations before they have to be distributed to the families who asked for the community’s assistance. 

Thanksgiving 2019 is especially late, meaning that the collection and distribution window is very small – only 10 days between Thanksgiving and the due date for donations. That makes it very important for families to sign up earlier to ensure that the Chatfield Christmas Project has enough time to get donations gathered and sorted.  Registration has already begun and will last through Dec. 4.

People who would like to shop for a family may find mitten tags with suggestions for gifts hanging on Christmas trees at local churches, and the average amount spent per tag is $40.  Toys should be delivered to the Chatfield Lutheran Church by Dec. 8. 

The organizers had their own list of Christmas joys to share – citing that it’s knowing that shopping for a child’s gifts allows Chatfield neighbors to help a parent give a fun Christmas for their child, being able to assist families each year with the extra expenses Christmas brings, and helping families enjoy the holiday.  They noted that it takes a lot of volunteers and that they couldn’t do it without the community’s help.         

For more information on the Chatfield Christmas Project, or to register to participate, e-mail