West Grand Wishes ensures a merry Christmas for Kremmling kids
Sky-Hi Daily News
West Grand Wishes is in its 10th year of helping make sure Kremmling residents are able to celebrate a happy holiday.
The project was the brainchild of Kremmling Police officer Todd Willson who happened to talk with Deb Brinkley (who taught CPR classes for the department) about some kids who weren’t going to have Christmas presents that year.
Several people gave him donations for the kids, but there was a last-minute family in need, Brinkley explained. Her daughter Nikki Clark went to Wal Mart and purchased gifts for the kids, Brinkley said, but “by the time she got home, there was another family in need. We decided that we needed to get organized, and that is how West Grand Wishes started.”
West Grand Wishes focuses on Kremmling children. The gift to parents is a Polaroid picture of their children with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Brinkley said the group has never served fewer than 100 kids, and the most children the group has helped so far was 132 in 2001. The program works by encouraging sponsors to adopt a family to help.
The organization puts Christmas trees up in the community with ornaments ” made by the pre-school and elementary students ” that tell the sex and age of a child and any wish that they have. Interested sponsors take the ornament and purchase Christmas gifts for that child or a senior who will be alone for the holidays, then return the unwrapped gift with the ornament to the place of business where they picked the ornament. Gift donations need to be unwrapped so the group can make sure that they are age-appropriate and that it isn’t the same gift that another child in the same family is getting.
If there are siblings in the family and they don’t get the same number of gifts or a like dollar amount, West Grand Wishes has monetary donations, and Brinkley’s daughter and son-in-law go shopping “to make sure all is equal.” Some families also receive a food box with Christmas dinner items.
“The community really pulls together for these kids,” Brinkley said. “There is no income limit, no forms to fill out, and we make it as anonymous as possible.”
The only request the group makes is that recipient families receive gifts from no other programs and that they are honest about their need.
The Christmas trees at Kremmling Mercantile and the Fishin’ Hole are up and ready for sponsors to take ornaments. There’s also a tree at the High Country Credit Union.
Meanwhile, the Extension Hall allows the group several days to wrap, sort and distribute gifts.
A skeleton crew of loyal volunteers is helping put the project together this year, including Brinkley, Todd and Lena Willson, Robbi Dale, and Nikki and Bill Clark.
“We are very proud of the success of this program,” Brinkley said. “We encourage people to call if they are in need of help or if they would like to help by donating or just take an ornament.”
Ornaments will be available at least through Dec. 18. For more information call Brinkley at (970) 724-9677.
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