RHINELANDER - As you shop for gifts this year, you can make sure there are toys under the tree for a less fortunate child on Christmas morning.
Volunteers in Rhinelander have put together ‘Kindness for Kids’ for 18 years. They collect new toys for newborns up to 15 year olds.
Alan Newman, a volunteer with the program knows just how much it means when someone gives a gift.
"I was in a situation where I had four boys, I didn't have a Christmas because I had a hip replacement done, and a family showed up, gave us a cash donation. And I said, as long as I was alive I would do whatever I could to help other communities," said Newman.
Last year Kindness for Kids gave toys to over 500 children in Oneida County, but volunteers say getting to play Santa for even one child makes it all worth it.
"Last year there was a little boy about 2 1/2 years old that came with his mom to pick up the toys. He got a sucker, and just the smile on his face and his eyes… Every year we get reminded, at least once why this happens," said Newman.
Families in need can sign up for Kindness for Kids through Oneida County Social Services.
The group gives 3 to 4 toys to each child, and tries to give each child at least one toy they asked for.
Collections are on-going until Decebmer 15th, that’s when they hand out the toys.
Drop-off locations are throughout Rhinelander and also in Tomahawk and Eagle River.
For more information on how and where to donate, or how to qualify, visit their website posted below.
WAUSAU - Students at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau got to see Tibetan monks create a work of art steeped in Buddhist history.
The Mandala Sand Art is an ancient Tantric Buddhist tradition dating back thousands of years.
The Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery are on an international tour called Mystical Arts of Tibet where they create mandalas in front of an audience.
"The colored patterns we are using, we are following the scriptures, the Buddhist scriptures. It's a very old tradition, more than 2,500 years ago," says Geshe Loden, head of the Mystical Arts of Tibet.
The monks' last visit to Northcentral Technical College in 2011 was so popular, they were invited back.
"At NTC we feel like it's important to offer our students a variety of different programming, and one of the things we feel our responsibility to do is expose our students to other cultures, other religions, other ideas," says Director of Student Development Shawn Sullivan.
The monks work hours at a time placing sand delicately in the lines of the intricate pattern.
The mandala will take them four days to complete, but the beautiful creation won't last long.
"After finishing this, making the mandala, we consecrate this completed mandala, and we dismantle it to symbolize the impermanence of all the conditioned things, all the phenomena," says Loden.
The monks' tour raises money for more than 3,000 monasteries in India. They also do it to raise awareness about the plight of Tibetans.
"Lord Buddha had started this, and that tradition keeps going on."
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