Friday, December 4, 2009

Demand surges for holiday baskets

Donations and volunteers are essential


By SABINA DANA PLASSE
Express Staff Writer

Volunteers help ready baskets for donations at the Hailey Armory. Photo by Willy Cook

The Sawtooth Board of Realtors' Community Holiday Basket Program is in such demand this year that the organization is seeking extra assistance. As a result of the nationwide recession, more families than ever have applied for help through the annual program.

The real estate community has been the largest supporter of the program. However, this year, due to troubles in the industry, real estate professionals are asking for extra help from the community.

The Senior Connection contributed knitted hats and scarves to the community baskets and the program received a generous donation of $3,000 from the Ketchum-Sun Valley Rotary Club, but more is needed. People in need include unemployed heads of households, single parents, disabled persons and seniors who cannot afford to buy food for the holiday.

To receive a basket, families must go through an application process, which was completed in November. Since the application process ended, "emergency situations" have arisen and 30 more applications have been processed.

In addition to baskets, the program "adopts" children who are in need of winter clothing and other items. There are more than 860 children on the adoption list and families who will shop for their needs have adopted 235 children. The program has received cash donations that will cover purchases for 287 children, leaving 324 children not adopted. It costs $30 to sponsor one of these children. Sizes, color preferences and requests will be given to every adopter.

The Community Holiday Basket Program provides a food basket, warm winter clothing, toys and gifts for families in need in Blaine County for Christmas. Some 400 families will receive baskets this year.

Anyone wishing to donate to the program or adopt a child should contact Shellie Gallagher at 721-2010.

In addition, the program is seeking volunteers to prepare food baskets, toys and clothes for the families who will be collecting items on Dec. 12-14. Volunteers will be needed on Monday, Dec. 7, Wednesday, Dec. 9, Thursday, Dec. 10, and Friday, Dec. 11, to prepare baskets. To sign up, call Suzanne Hausner at 720-2147. To give a donation, send checks to SBR Holiday Baskets, Box 1937, Ketchum, ID 83340.

Sabina Dana Plasse: splasse@mtexpress.com




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