Volunteers work to make Christmas joyful for all
“It is better to give than to receive,” the old cliché goes, something the volunteers of Grand County know well.
As fall meanders into winter and we near the Christmas season Joyful Givers, operated by the Granby Police Dept., and Grand Angels are preparing for their annual Christmas toy/clothing drive. They are seeking volunteers and donations of toys, clothing or money as they prepare for the upcoming holidays. They are also looking for families from the county needing a little bit of support or assistance as Christmas rolls around.
For nearly a decade now the Grand Angels and Joyful Givers Christmas program has been providing gifts and necessities during Christmas time to the families of Grand County. The volunteer joint venture works to provide toys, clothing, shoes, coats and other items to local families in need to share the joy of giving with those who might otherwise not experience it. Each year volunteers from both organizations donate their time and money to make Christmas a little bit brighter in Grand County.
“We feel it is our responsibility to assist families that are in need,” said Granby Police Chief Bill Housley. “There are many families in our area who really cannot afford some of the basic needs for their children and at Christmas time that is a difficult thing.”
Chief Housley helps oversee the program and outlined how it works. Throughout the fall county law enforcement agencies hand out forms for the program to families they encounter. Families from throughout Grand County can volunteer or apply for assistance through the program.
“From our professional contacts we become aware of families that could use assistance,” said Housley. “We contact those families and ask if they have a need for assistance. There is also a form families can pick up and fill out down at the department offices.”
As Thanksgiving nears and the participation forms begin coming in the volunteers from both organizations take donated funds and purchase gifts for the program, which are brought to the Granby Town Hall. In the weeks leading up to Christmas volunteers wrap the gifts and organize them into family groups. After the organization is completed families are allowed to come in and pick up the donated gifts. “If families can come in they come and get them,” said Housley. “If not we will deliver.”
The program happily accepts monetary donations, which are used to purchase gifts. “We receive both monetary and item donations,” said Housley. “We usually purchase between 700 and 1000 gifts in a year. Probably 90 percent being basic needs items: shoes, winter clothing, boots. We usually buy somewhere between 100 and 125 pairs of shoes every year.”
Housley pointed out that 100 percent of all monies donated to the program go to purchasing gifts. “No money is taken out for gas expenses, lunches or any other administrative costs. Any of those costs are simply donated by the volunteers. It is really work from the heart.” The purchasing funds for the program are also kept in a segregated account by the Town of Granby and can only be spent on gifts for needy children at Christmas time, according to Chief Housley.
Along with the gifts the families receive they are also provided with a food certificate to a local grocery store.
“We allow members of the community to adopt a gift need,” said Housley. “They can adopt a child for all their needs or they can adopt a family for all their needs. We have members of the community who do all of the above. There are several members of the community that adopt several families themselves.”
Housley also pointed out the program is entirely anonymous. All family names within the program are converted to numbers after the application process is completed.
If you are interested in participating in the Grand Angels and Joyful Givers Christmas 2015 program, as either a volunteer or as a supported family, you can contact the GPD or Grand Angels at 303-919-5810.
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