CADILLAC — Registration is about to open up for this year's annual Project Christmas and those attending will see some changes to the operations.
Starting on Monday, Oct. 19, families in Wexford and Missaukee counties will be able to sign up for the 32nd annual Project Christmass at the WEX in Cadillac.
"There are so many families that would not otherwise be able to provide Christmas gifts if we didn't help," Project Christmas Board Member Evelyn Rexford said. "Christmas would look very different for a lot of people."
What began as five women brainstorming over coffee in 1989, has turned into a group of 13 board members and a 40 person committee who plan Project Christmas and provide gifts, food and other household supplies to between 800 and 1,000 families a year.
This year, in response to COVID-19, the Project Christmas board has decided this year will operate a little differently than guests may be used to, Rexford said.
Some precautions to this year include regulating the flow of traffic through the WEX, checking temperatures at the door and requiring those entering the building to wear masks.
"We just wanted to make sure everyone will be as safe as possible," Rexford said. "People won't be packed in the entrance of the WEX waiting to go in and they won't be able to go back and forth between booths as they have in the past.
Semi-trucks will also be located outside to distributer food and household cleaning supplies.
Also new to this year, only one family member will be able to come into the building and shop for their family, Rexford said.
"We have people bring everyone in their household and that can be 10 people in some cases," she said. "This year, again, keeping the well being of our guests in mind, we can't have that many people packed at once."
If a family is in need this Christmas season, they can see if they qualify and register by calling 230-779-5205 or 231-468-3204 if a resident of Wexford County or 231-839-8816 if a resident in Missaukee County. Registration will be open until Friday, Dec. 4.
The event at the WEX with take place on Dec. 12. Any donations to the project can be made online at projectchristmaswexmiss.org or checks can be mailed to Project Christmas, PO Box 554, Cadillac MI, 49601.