Letter: ‘A joyful community effort’

‘A joyful, community effort’

The Holiday Baskets Program, a project comprising completely of volunteers, was once again a joyful, community effort. This program has provided gifts and food to needy individuals and families in our valley for more than 30 years. This year, we helped 248 families (1,051 individuals).

Recipients are referred by various social service agencies and are then “adopted” by individuals, the faith community, businesses, schools and other groups. Since not all families are adopted, those who are not are provisioned for using donated gift tag items and purchased gifts. In addition to presents, we were able to provide City Market gift cards for each person.

The response from our community was particularly generous this year. We received many wonderful donations of toys, clothing, blankets, books, gift cards, money and lots of volunteer time. We are grateful for grants from The Thrift Shop of Aspen, the Aspen Elks, the Rotary Club of Aspen and the Martin Foundation.

While it is not possible to individually thank everyone who contributed to the success of this program, there are several who deserve special recognition. Neal Batson, Elaine Bonds, Marsha Cook, Elizabeth Parker, Sarah Pember and Joy Stryker spent many, many hours and lots of energy matching families with “Adopting Angels” and making sure all the gifts were ready on pick-up days.

We are also grateful to Christ Episcopal Church for providing space in which to coordinate and distribute the thousands of gifts. We had lots of enthusiastic help from volunteers, Girl Scouts and school groups.

We appreciate those businesses who allowed us to place our collection jars on their counters, as well as the people who filled them with donations. It was gratifying to receive gifts from the Aspen and Basalt schools, the Aspen Police, 911, Sheriff’s Department, Fire Department, County Manager’s Office and local business. Thank you also to the Aspen Chamber Resort Association for again collecting toys and money for us at its 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 truly joyful to see the happy faces of the recipients when they received their gifts.

Anne Blackwell

Holiday Baskets chairwoman