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Waitresses give a tip to the holiday season
Times photo: Brenda Steurer Blue Ox employees Rita Islami, from left, Heidi Jenisek and Kelli Klemm, along with other waitresses at the restaurant, will donate 20 percent of their tips Sunday to the Christmas Stocking Fund. The money is used to purchase items for local families in need during the holiday season.
MONROE - Waitresses at the Blue Ox restaurant want to do more than just wish people a merry Christmas this holiday season.

On Sunday, they plan to donate 20 percent of their tips to the Christmas Stocking Fund. The restaurant also will donate 20 percent of what it takes in to the organization.

Kelli Klemm, a Blue Ox waitress, came up with the idea.

"Most of us here are single mothers, and we're always helping each other. We want to help other people, too," she said.

The waitresses are excited to see how much money they can raise, waitress Heidi Jenisek said.

"This is the season of giving," she said.

Rita Islami, hostess at the restaurant, said she would challenge all restaurants in Monroe to do the same. She said it would help the Christmas Stocking Fund and make the holidays a little easier for families that might be struggling.

The Christmas Stocking Fund is an annual effort of the Monroe Woman's Club. The club collects money and other donations, and distributes clothes, toys, shoes and boots to children in need in the Monroe school district. Families also receive food boxes, complete with ingredients to prepare a holiday meal, which are delivered right before Christmas. Cheer boxes with holiday cookies and fruit also are delivered to the elderly.

Every year, the Christmas Stocking benefits hundreds of families. Last year, 300 families received help from the Christmas Stocking, up from 270 families in 2007. Names of families in need are offered confidentially by school officials, counselors and area churches.

To donate to the Christmas Stocking Fund, send contributions to 901 16th Ave., Monroe, WI 53566.