The Holiday Baskets program, a totally volunteer project, was, once again, a wonderful community effort that provided gifts and food to 250 families (1,000 people) in need in our valley. Recipients are referred to the program by various social service agencies and are then “adopted” by individuals, the faith community, schools and other groups. Since not all families are adopted, those who aren’t are provisioned for using donated gift tag items as well as gifts purchased with monetary contributions.
The response this year was particularly generous. We received many wonderful donations of toys, money, clothing and volunteer time from individuals, clubs and businesses as well as the Thrift Shop of Aspen and the Elks.
In addition to gifts, we were able to provide very generous gift cards for each person. Those staying at the Aspen Homeless Shelter also received food gift cards.
While it is not possible to individually thank everyone who contributed to this program, there are several who deserve special recognition. Neal Batson, Elaine Bonds, Joy Stryker, Holiday Baskets agency and community coordinators spent many, many hours and lots of energy matching families with “adopting angels” and making sure all the gifts were ready on pickup day.
We are also grateful to Christ Episcopal Church for providing space in which to coordinate and distribute the thousands of gifts. We had a lot of energetic help with gift wrapping by volunteers, girl scouts and school groups. We appreciate those businesses that let us place our collection jars on their counters and the people who filled them. It was gratifying to receive donations of toys and other gifts from the police, 911, sheriff and fire departments. Thank you also to the Aspen Chamber Resort Association for again collecting toys and money for Holiday Baskets at their annual holiday party.
It was heartwarming to observe so many people in our community participating in this project with such love and generosity, and it was joyful to see the happy faces of the recipients when they received their gifts.
Chairwoman, Holiday Baskets
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Volunteers are being sought by the city and county to serve on the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority board. Over a dozen people have applied so far and today is the deadline.