Letter: Community pulled together for a good cause

The Holiday Baskets Program, a totally volunteer project, was once again a joyful community effort. This program has provided gifts and food to those in need in our valley for over 30 years. This year we helped 248 families (1,005 individuals).

Recipients are referred by 10 different 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 food gift cards for each person.

The response from our community was extremely generous this year. We received many wonderful donations of money, toys, clothing, blankets, diapers, books, gift cards and volunteer help. We estimate that more than 300 volunteers participated in making this year a success! We are grateful for grants from the Thrift Shop of Aspen, the Rotary Club of Aspen, the Marten Foundation and the Aspen Elks. Thanks also to the Aspen Board of Realtors for collecting contributions at its holiday party. We appreciate those businesses that allowed us to place our collection jars on their counters as well as the people who filled them with donations.

While it is not possible to individually thank all those who contributed in various ways, there are several who deserve special recognition. Neal Batson, Elaine Bonds, Marsha Cook, Kathy Dreyer and Elizabeth Parker spent untold hours and lots of energy matching families with “adopting angels” and making sure all the gifts were ready on pickup 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 wrapping gifts from volunteers, Girl and Boy Scouts, school groups and faith-community youth groups.

It was heartwarming to observe so many people in our community participating in this project with such love and generosity.

Anne Blackwell

Chairwoman, Holiday Baskets Program, Aspen