Rexburg – Santa Claus is coming to town thanks to Madison Cares.

The organization is in the process of assigning secret Santas to 50 Madison School District families in need this holiday season.

“Right now we are accepting businesses and families who would like to sponsor and provide a Christmas to a family,” said Madison Cares Program Director Rick Croft.

Croft reports that he has already received numerous Christmas presents to be given to needy families. Plans also call to give three families Christmas trees who can’t afford to buy one.

This is the fourth year that Madison Cares has provided the Secret Santa program.

“It is such a rewarding experience. It warms our heart, and helps us feel so good to help some families that might just be in a tight spot this holiday season,” he said.

Madison Cares is also accepting new or gently worn coats for families.

“We are doing this for the holiday season also. We have a number of coats already,” Croft said.

He reported receiving a phone call from a trucking company that’s also doing its own coat drive and wanted to bring what they have received to Madison Cares. Croft also heard from an Eagle Scout candidate interested in helping collect coats and other warm clothing for area needy as part of his Eagle Scout project.

“It’s not only a coat drive, but just a winter clothing drive. A lot folks in our community are in need of a coat, snow boots, gloves, mittens and stocking hats. That’s in the process, and we’re working on that,” Croft said.

This is the third year that Madison Cares has offered the coat drive. Croft reported that in 2018, the organization received 100 coats that were later given to those without one.

“We’ve already had a number of families come in. Going back to the week before Halloween, a number of families picked up coats from us,” Croft said.

Madison Cares workers don’t ask those getting the coats for any paycheck stubs or tax return statements.

“If they come in and say they need a coat, we get them a coat. We would not turn anybody away,” Croft said. “If somebody has a need for a coat; they’ll get a coat.”

Croft urges parents not to let pride get in their way when needing a coat for themselves or for their children.

“I would just encourage them that there’s no judgment here. We’re accepting of all. We understand sometimes situations are such, and somebody is in a need. In this case, if it’s a coat, we have them here. I would really encourage them to swing in and take a look at our inventory,” Croft said.

Whenever anyone comes, Croft meets with them privately and shows them coats available.

“The coats are either brand new or gently used. All coats that get donated to us, we make sure we wash and dry and get them clean. So any coat that goes out our front door is brand new or slightly used and clean,” he said.

Between the Secret Santa program and coat drive, Madison Cares workers have been very busy and expect to be even busier throughout the holidays, Croft said.

“We start feeling like Santa’s elves the middle of December,” he said.

For more information on helping a family in need or on the coat drive call Madison Cares at 208-359-1256.