For the small Missouri town of Winfield, the 1993 location of a group of Santa's busiest helpers isn't the North Pole -- it's Winfield, Md.
Wanda Legore, who spearheaded a successful flood relief effort this fall for the Missouri town, wanted to do something to make the holidays a little brighter for Winfield's less fortunate families.
A long-distance telephone call to Dee Gaddis, principal of Missouri's Winfield Elementary School, garnered the names of five families with a total of 22 children that the administrator knew needed help.
Mrs. Legore, following the tradition of some of Santa's most dedicated helpers, began searching for support for a holiday flood-relief effort. A number of volunteers responded to her Christmas quest.
"Our main concern was the children," explained Mrs. Legore. "We basically bought them winter clothing -- sweat suits, hats, gloves, jeans, turtlenecks and socks. We just made sure they had a couple of sets of warm clothing for the winter."
Clothing was purchased and gift wrapped by Santa's helpers at the Winfield Fire Company, its Ladies Auxiliary and Morgan Chapel United Methodist Church. Gift certificates were donated by Martins of Eldersburg, Giant Food and Weis Markets. Small kid-pleasing gifts were donated and wrapped by Brownie troops 279, 468, 1184, 1281 and Junior Girl Scout Troop 1417. Several people donated cash.
"I want to thank everybody who helped," Mrs. Legore said. "It takes a lot of people working together to do this."
Food, such as flour, sugar and peanut butter, that is unavailable at the town's only food-assistance center was purchased with the donated gift certificates and wrapped in tea towels, dish towels and ribbon, Mrs. Legore said. "Each family received a check, also."
Although plans called for the items to be shipped via U.S. Air Express, a decision by Ron Legore, Wanda's husband, to make the trek to the flood-ravaged town resulted in a change of plans.
The Legores also transported items collected in the first Winfield flood relief effort.
The bounty of Christmas gifts was loaded in preparation for the 17-hour journey.
"My husband's pickup was full. We left 4 a.m. [Dec. 5] in the pouring rain," said Mrs. Legore.
The Legores arrived in Winfield, Mo., at 11:30 a.m. Dec. 6, and ate lunch in the cafeteria at Winfield Elementary.
"I called all the mothers," said Mrs. Legore. "We delivered right to their door."
On Dec. 7, Winfield's mayor took the Legores for a tour of the flood-ravaged town.
"I saw the hole in that levee and it's unbelievable," said Mrs. Legore. "Very few are fixing up because the government isn't fixing the levees. They're afraid of what the spring will bring and they just don't have the resources."
A comment from a Missouri mother to Mrs. Legore captured the reason for the holiday mission.
"She said her 7-year-old was so excited because she had a present under the tree," said Mrs. Legore. "That's why I did this.
"They deeply appreciated everything we did. I'm so glad we went out."
Students at Winfield Elementary in Maryland are reaching out to friends in need who attend Winfield Elementary in Missouri.
In response to Mrs. Legore's Christmas Flood Relief Effort for Winfield, the Carroll school decided to make its Missouri counterpart the beneficiary of its annual holiday fund-raising project for books.
Local students were very enthusiastic about helping the Missouri school that "lost almost everything" to the summer's floods, said Kathy Wallis, Winfield Elementary School's Integrated Language Arts Specialist. "We had double the participation."
Mrs. Wallis said $300 was collected, which, with the 20 percent discount granted by Locust Books in Westminster, purchased about $400 worth of reading materials for the Missouri school's media center.
The schoolwide project was democratic, Mrs. Wallis said. "Each class voted on their three favorite books they wanted to send," she said.
The books were purchased by Mrs. Wallis, who included nameplates in each to indicate that they were from Maryland's Winfield Elementary School. The Legores transported the books to the Missouri school Dec. 6.
"The principal was very grateful," added Mrs. Wallis.
The book collection is just the beginning of a friendship between the two Winfield schools. They are about the same size, with four classes to each grade, Mrs. Wallis said.
Each of the local classes is making a holiday card to send to each of the classes in the Missouri school. The bundle of Christmas greetings will be accompanied by a videotape of the recent fifth-grade production of "Beauty and the Beast," Mrs. Wallis said.
In return, the Missouri students will become "video pals" by sending a videotape of their Winfield area featuring information and messages from the youths.
Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students from Frederick and Carroll County schools are sharing the joys of the holiday season with patrons of Mount Airy's Senior Center.
New Market Middle School Eighth Grade Touring Ensemble, under the direction of vocal music teacher Chris Stefanizzi and accompanied by Bonnie Moore, will visit the Center at 705 Ridge Ave. at 1:15 p.m. Monday. The 30-member group will entertain senior citizens with holiday music.
Five students from Mount Airy Middle School will visit the Senior Center with Principal Larry Barnes on Dec. 21 to read stories and poems they have written since school started in September.
For information, call the center at (301) 829-2407.