Sheriff’s office, campground owners, make ‘Christmas miracles’

Metro Wire Staff

The Portage County Sheriff’s Office has teamed up with the Gilbert Brown Foundation, the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners, and the Wisconsin Campground Association to make Christmas a little nicer for some local families.

Vista Royalle, a family campground in Bancroft, conducts raised money during special events throughout the year, including its “Camping for a Cause” fundraiser Labor Day weekend. Funds raised go towards local police and fire organizations, along with various non-profit organizations like Operation Bootstrap, Portage County Crime Stoppers, Salvation Army, and the Gilbert Brown Foundation.

“COVID has put a damper on everything. We asked Gilbert Brown if COVID was going to stop him from making holiday miracles happen. His response, ‘I don’t think so,'” said Lori Severson, executive director for the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners. “Christmas is a time for hope and families coming together. It’s not about being stressed over financial burden.”

Severson said for Christmas, 2020, WACO worked with the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Foundation, Good360, Jake’s Diapers, Gilbert Brown Foundation, and the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners (WACO) have teamed up with Vista Royalle Campground and The Portage County Sheriff’s Office to spread cheer.

“The goal? To make as many dreams as possible come true for Wisconsin children,” she said. “Christmas can be a difficult time for families who are struggling, and COVID has made some of those struggles even more evident in 2020. Our partnerships include some very generous business owners. We are fortunate to be able to pull together and make Christmas sparkle.”

Gifts included toys, books, and games for families in need in Portage County. Sheriff Mike Lukas said on Tuesday the gifts were “pretty nice.”

More than 200 local kids were identified as being in need this year, according to the WCAO press release, but the group is still taking donations of wrapping paper and related supplies. Anyone wishing to donate can call Scott at 715.498.8204.

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