Christmas is less than three weeks away and many local schools, businesses and municipalities are holding fundraisers to help needy families in the community.

For the fourth year in a row, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office is collecting donations for its annual Christmas Giving Tree program.

Each year the sheriff’s office sets up a Christmas tree and fills it with tags, each specifying a certain item that people can buy for those individuals and families in need. Residents are welcome to pick up one or more tags, purchase the items and bring the donations to the sheriff’s office.

Wrapped donations will be put under the tree and unwrapped donations can be given to a member of the sheriff’s office.

Due to the multitude of participants in previous years, giving trees will be placed in various businesses in the area. A couple of the participating businesses include Scotty’s True Value and Main Street Stickers-Creation Station. The Rigby Police Department will also have a tree with tags.

The deadline to submit the donations is Dec. 10.

A Rigby High School Senior project, titled Sharing Smiles is also holding a toy drive in conjunction with the sheriff’s office. Donation boxes can be found at Scotty’s True Value, Broulims, Family Dollar and Rigby High School. The deadline for donations is Dec. 7.

The project was developed by five Rigby High School senior special needs students, Matthew Ashment, Tiffanie Mickelsen, Matthew Miller, Sara Exler and Spencer Willford developed the project almost a month ago to help assure needy families have a happy Christmas.

Willford said any and all toys are welcome and can be dropped off at any of the aforementioned locations. The first available day for drop-offs was Nov. 26.

At Farnsworth Elementary School, students are collecting coins to provide Christmas for a family. To help with this the school’s PTO is operating an Elf Shop as a fundraiser. Jefferson Joint School District No. 251 Executive Assistant and Board Clerk Monica Pauley said the school is also collecting canned food for a food drive in conjunction with the Giving Cupboard and a pay-it-forward box for items to help families in need.

Pauley said the project began a month ago and will be wrapping up Dec. 5.

Naomi Schilling with the Giving Cupboard said they will be holding a silent auction at The Venue Dec. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. Funds raised from the auction will be directed to getting a new building for the organization that currently operates out the Rigby City Library.

Such items being auctioned include ski passes at Targhee, four round-trip plane tickets with Southwest Airlines, a helicopter ride, a chainsaw and 16 other items.

Schilling said they’re hoping to purchase a 2,000 to 2,500 square-foot building and raise roughly $50,000 for a down payment.

At Ririe Junior-Senior High School, the Student Council and Honors Society are also collecting food items to put together boxes with a complete Christmas dinner.

Superintendent Chad Williams said they are hoping to put together 10 complete boxes.

Each box will contain a frozen turkey or ham, vegetables, frozen dinner rolls, butter, jams, potatoes, stuffing mixes, sweet potatoes or yams, gravy packets or broth and frozen pies or other desserts. Monetary donations are also being accepted and will be used to purchase items to fill the Christmas boxes.

Donations can be dropped off at the Junior-Senior High School. The deadline to do so is Dec. 15.

Williams said Ririe Elementary School is also holding penny wars where students bring in coins and compete against participating teachers. He said all funds raised through the event will be used to purchase toys for needy families in the community.

Mobley Physical Therapy held a “Fill the Window” food drive for the Thanksgiving holiday that concluded Nov. 30. Office Manager Betsy Cherry said roughly 200 food items were donated to the Giving Cupboard from the fundraiser.

For every five items donated, the donator received an entry for the drawing for a free turkey dinner. The winner of which was Sharron Collier of Rigby.

Like Mobley Physical Therapy, Alliance Title in Rigby held a food drive that ended at the end of October. Vice President and Branch Manager Jennifer Landon said 618 pounds of food was donated to the Giving Cupboard along with a portion of the branch’s revenue for the month.

Currently the branch is holding a fundraiser titled “Food for Fido.” Landon said they are accepting donations of both cat and dog food and any other pet related items that will be donated to Jefferson County veterinarian clinics. She said donations will be accepted until right before Christmas.

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