Volunteers deliver food to needy families | VailDaily.com
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Volunteers deliver food to needy families

Melanie WongVail, CO Colorado
NWS Thanksgiving Baskets DT 11-17-07
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EDWARDS – There was almost no Thanksgiving dinner for Kim’s family last year.She was unable to work after a car accident, and medical bills were piling up from multiple sclerosis treatment, said Kim, who asked that her full name not be printed. She would have made a celebration out of what they had for her 5-year-old daughter, but the family just could not afford to buy the traditional holiday meal, she said.But thanks to the Salvation Army and community volunteers, Kim’s family received a gift box at their door full of food – everything needed for a Thanksgiving dinner.”It allowed us to have a big, beautiful turkey with all the sides, and I was able to have family over, which I could not have done otherwise,” she said. This year the Salvation Army packed and delivered dinners to 350 valley families as part of the Thanksgiving Food Basket program. The food came from food drives held by various community groups, including the town of Eagle, Cub Scouts and ECO Transit, which challenged donors to fill a bus with food.A simple dinner can make a big impact for families, said Salvation Army caseworker Shaun Weisensel. “Food is often the centerpiece of Thanksgiving. Everybody should be able to get together as a family and enjoy Thanksgiving dinner,” she said.Volunteers loaded the boxes with turkeys, cranberry sauce, potatoes, hot chocolate, canned vegetables, stuffing and chili in the crowded hallways of Avon Elementary School on Saturday morning. Outside, brisk weather and slight showers did not deter others from loading up vehicles for delivery to families.Downvalley, volunteers did the same at Brush Creek Pavilion in Eagle.Volunteer groups included the fire departments, the Sheriff’s Office, Girl Scout troops and SOS Outreach.Lexi Meichtry, 9, who volunteered with an Edwards Girl Scout troop, said she thinks the food will really help families out. “They’ll be so excited they don’t have to buy food,” she said.Avon resident Robin Henzler volunteered with SOS Outreach along with her two children, Margo and Forrest.SOS Outreach helps with both the Thanksgiving and Christmas food boxes, she said, and this year they had a record number of volunteers.Helping pack boxes was a way to show support for the organizations as well as work with many other groups in the community, Robin Henzler said.”I’ve really enjoyed seeing all the different people here working together,” she said.Things are expensive in the valley, said Forrest Henzler, 13, and this is a way to make a difference for some families. “Just a little bit helps,” he said.The Salvation Army and other community organizations also provided Christmas dinner and generous gifts for the family, which really got them through a rough holiday season, Kim said.”I’ve never experienced a community like this. It’s amazing,” she said.=============Holiday helpingChristmas food baskets: The Salvation Army will pack and deliver Christmas dinners. It needs donations and volunteers. Packing and delivery will be Dec. 15 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at both Avon Elementary and United Methodist Church in Eagle. Adopt a Family: Volunteer to buy gifts for a family that may not be getting many presents this year. The program is ongoing until Dec. 22. Shoppers also can choose from donated toys and clothes for free at the “Holiday Cabin” in Avon’s Chapel Square. Food pantries: The Salvation Army always needs donations for its three pantries at the Vail Interfaith Chapel, its Edwards office and the United Methodist Church in Eagle.For more information on these programs, call 926-3704==============Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.


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