Need for assistance to Grand County families leaps this holiday season
December 5, 2011
Many Grand County residents who normally are givers at Christmastime are finding themselves unable to buy basic necessities, according to Deb Gahan of the Grand Angels Neighbors helping neighbors team. The county’s six food banks, agencies, and organizations that provide assistance have experienced overwhelming increases in requests, she said. “200 percent in the last two years alone and 30-40 percent of those hungry and/or in need of some basic necessities are children,” she said. Last Christmas, the Angel Tree in Winter Park, Grand Angels, Joyful Givers, Mountain Family Center and Rotary of Grand Lake distributed over 1,150 gifts and food to more than 350 Grand kids. The majority of those gifts were for basic needs such as warm coats, shoes, boots and other clothing. This year, agencies are expecting the need to greatly increase and are collaborating to ensure no duplication of services. Mountain Family Center’s Christmas program is seeking families to sponsor a family in need. Go to their website or call for more information on the program, 970-725-3257 or http://www.mountainfamilycenter.org. The Angel Tree, located in the Cooper Creek Square courtyard between Mountain Grind Coffee & Bistro and Nest in Winter Park, still needs people to pick an Angel Card. Each card details the age of the child and their wish. Gifts can be dropped off to any Cooper Creek store and the deadline is Dec. 8. Several events are scheduled this month to support Grand County neighbors in need. Joyful Givers is a “gift” given to Grand County by Granby and Fraser/Winter Park Police departments. The brainchild of Granby police chief Bill Housley, this program provides an extraordinary goodwill example to Grand Kids. The police officers deliver gifts to the families the week before Christmas (over 700 last year). As many as 350 Christmas wish lists were distributed through schools, churches, libraries, and food banks. “As part of the celebration, we traditionally give gifts to family and friends,” said Housley. “Unfortunately, there are many families who will not be able to afford to offer gifts to their children this Christmas. It is truly a joyful experience to give gifts to a child who would otherwise go without. It’s the essence of Christmas – it’s better to give than to receive.” Volunteers are needed to help the police departments wrap 1,000 anticipated gifts from 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18.There will be sleigh rides and a Secret Santa shop at Wes and Marsha House’s business, Winding River Resort in Grand Lake on Dec. 16. Last year 80 families participated in activities. The sleigh rides will go out at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Children will be able to shop for their families and caregivers at no cost from a barn full of donated gifts. There are several ways to be a part of the Christmas Joy project. Sponsor a child or family. For more details about any program, e-mail GrandAngels11@gmail.com or call the Grand Angel hotline at 970-627-3510, ext. 315, Deb Gahan 303-335-6173, the Granby Police Department 970-887-3007 or Fraser/Winter Park Police Department 970-722-7779. Donations also are accepted through the mail or can be dropped off at the Granby Police Department. All donations are tax deductible.