Elks Christmas Basket Program serves most ever in Winslow
WINSLOW, Ariz. - The Winslow Elks Club has held its annual Christmas Basket Program for 52 years, providing needed relief for the neediest citizens in the community and bringing Christmas joy to children who otherwise would probably not have much in the way of toys and presents.
The program has grown and attracted the attention and help of a wide variety of clubs, organizations, schools, businesses and individual citizens. It has long been a faithful provider of needed charity to some of the less fortunate and needy families in the community. Many who once received Christmas baskets have become donors to the program when their situations in life improved.
The Christmas Basket Program distributed 316 baskets to over 1,100 people in the area and provided 568 needy children with Christmas gifts. Some 18 routes were run with the gifts and some 30 bikers contributed toy runs.
The 2011 program was co-chaired by Bill Barris and Phil Harris with important assistance from lead assistant Kate McKennon. Many other Elks participated in the program in a variety of ways and others in the community also helped.
School children from most Winslow schools help in the drive for goods for the Christmas Basket program. Most have classes or clubs that compete for an award by collecting canned goods in the community. Families and individuals participate in one significant way just by giving to the children who come to their door to collect. The Elks Club provides pizza parties to classes at most elementary schools, which collect the most canned goods. Donations are given to the high school classes, which have the most effective collection program.
The goods collected and donated for the Christmas Basket Program are processed by volunteers at the Elks Club and divided into categories, which make it easier to provide baskets that meet a wide variety of a family's needs. The Elk members who do this frequent work are estimated to be some 20-30 individuals who donate a considerable number of hours of work during the season.
Families who wish to receive an Elks Christmas Basket for Christmas are encouraged to register for the program. Those who do qualify usually receive a generous basket of canned goods and other food supplies. Those with children will receive toys that are donated to the program. It was estimated that some 250 families received Elks Christmas Baskets last year. The registration process is still going on this season.
Many clubs and businesses have recognized that the Elks Club has perfected this program and decided to participate themselves by donating to the program or helping it in other ways when possible. The Order of Lady Elks, for example, has donated a large amount of toys for the program.
The Winslow Police Department has made an important donation of bicycles which had been abandoned, lost and not found or otherwise came into the department's possession. The bicycles were then donated to the Elks Christmas Basket Program and given to children of needy, qualified families. The postal department also has its letter carriers participate in the can collection part of the program.
Winslow has reaped the benefits of a well thought out and useful charity program for many years. The Elks Christmas Basket Program meets some real community needs and plans to continue to do so for many years to come. Its presence in the community is much appreciated for the good it does.
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