A long-standing tradition in Antelope County will help 128 Children have a much brighter Christmas. The Christmas Ribbon Tree is sponsored by Health and Human Services and the Neligh-Oakdale FCCLA.
According to Patti Brady of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the Ribbon Tree program began over three decades ago. This program allows for children of needy families to have presents under their Christmas tree.
“We have been providing services through HHS and FCCLA since 1980,” Brady said.
Families who wish to receive services fill out an application and then they are coded and sent to the FCCLA students who then prepare the ribbons and the trees. On the ribbons are possible suggestions of gifts, that members of the community can buy gifts for.
The red ribbons are put on two trees that are displayed in both Heritage Bank and Pinnacle Bank in downtown Neligh. The trees remain up from Thanksgiving until just before Christmas when the presents are brought up to the Antelope County Courthouse basement for the families.
Other gifts that were brought to the courthouse unwrapped were donated by St. Boniface and Laurel Miller, for families to come shopping for other gifts.
According to Kim Scarborough, the FCCLA Advisor at Neligh-Oakdale, the students help bring the gifts back from the banks so the donating community members don’t have to.
“A lot of my kids do take ribbons home and then their families help donate,” said Scarborough.
Students involved with the Neligh-Oakdale FCCLA feel they are truly making a difference.
“I think its important because Christmas is about giving to people that need stuff,” said FCCLA student Megan McWhorter.
“I like to be in FCCLA because it actually helps the community,” said FCCLA member Alex Morrison, "and helps out everyone, especially the people who need it."