Shiny bows and colorful wrapping paper are the tools of trade for Tri-Development Center volunteers as they place Christmas presents in pretty packages and raise funds for a worthy cause.


The United Way organization is holding its 12th annual gift wrapping at the Aiken Mall.


Aiken Electric Cooperative employees are offering their assistance again this year by volunteering to wrap gifts and has participated since it started. Family and friends of clients are helping, too, as well as board members and employees of Tri-Development, according to Volunteer, Safety and Special Event Coordinator BonnieAnn Fulghum.


On Christmas Eve, Ralph Courtney, Tri-Development’s executive director, lends a hand which Fulghum said shows how important this fundraiser is to the nonprofit.


Businesses have donated wrapping paper, gift bags and bows for the volunteers to use. Fulghum said they only had to purchase the boxes.


The Tri-Development Center of Aiken County assists individuals with autism, head and spinal cord injuries, and intellectual disabilities. The nonprofit’s main goals are to help these individuals increase their independence, support human rights and dignity, and educate the public, according to its website.


No cost is set for gift wrapping services but they’re accepting donations, which will benefit the organization’s efforts to obtain another American Disabilities Association compliant facility to help people on a growing waiting list in need of assistance.


Fulghum started working with Tri-Development this year, and this is her first time participating in the gift wrapping event. She has watched residents give generous donations and even children offering their allowance money to the nonprofit.


“It’s been absolutely rewarding because it’s just being able to see the generosity of the community and the businesses,” Fulghum said.


Fulghum said people can bring in gifts from home or stop by with items they just purchased to be wrapped.


The gift wrapping station is located in a space near Santa Claus, who is sitting in front of JCPenney.


Gift wrapping will be done from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 2 until 6 p.m. on Sundays. They will offer the service until Christmas Eve.


The organization is also wrapping gifts for Operation North Pole, which is an effort to make sure the individuals the nonprofit serves get a present for Christmas. To donate a gift or money to the cause, stop by the mall or call Fulghum at 642-8809.


The organization is also accepting donations of gift wrapping supplies.