MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — About 300 Christmas gifts line the floor of Nicole Ree's home in Friendly Acres, a community near Hawley, and none of them are for her or her family. They are going to strangers as a part of the Monroe County Meals on Wheels program.
"Every year, I try to help someone out. I used to do baskets for kids in need for years, and last year I did 500 hats for Santa to give out," said Ree.
This year it was Monroe County Meals on Wheels.
Ree saw a post on Facebook asking for homemade gifts.
She makes hats and jewelry and thought she would give some away. She says that quickly turned into making 300 hats for each of the clients at Meals on Wheels, even adding hygiene products to each gift bag.
"With the whole COVID, I mean with everyone out of work and everything, I just felt the need to help. Even if it's just one item extra in the bag, it's something for them to look forward to," said Ree.
"I'm continually amazed at how much work people are willing to put in to help our clients, and all they sometimes do is hear a little bit about our story and hear a little bit about what we can do, and then you have someone like Nicole who goes above and beyond," said Stacey Koeck, Monroe County Meals on Wheel special events coordinator.
For the past several years, Meals on Wheels has provided each one of its clients with a gift for Christmas. Even with the pandemic, clients this year will still get their present.
On December 12 and December 19, the organization is hosting a "Santa Squad" where each gift will get delivered.
"We've heard in the past from clients say that that's the only gift they had to unwrap. That's more the rule than the exception. I think this, it really means something to them," said Koeck.
If you are interested in donating, you can visit the Monroe County Meals on Wheels office during the hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. to drop any new and unwrapped handmade gifts.