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A merrier holiday season

Kiwanis, community groups distribute baskets for families in need this weekend

After 56 years, the Sandy Kiwanis Christmas basket program runs like a well-oiled machine.

Longtime volunteers such as Joan Miller and Mary Haneberg say working with so many community groups on the project is a joy.

Beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, Dec. 16, Sandy Kiwanis and other organizations contributing to the program invite community members to 'play Santa' by divvying gifts among the baskets at St. Michael Catholic Church, 18090 S.E. Langensand Road.

The 'Good Morning Santa' event Friday allows the community to see completed food boxes, enjoy refreshments and assist with the finishing touches of the Christmas baskets. It will run until about 11 a.m.

At 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, the Sandy Fire District, Sandy Police Department and other volunteers will begin distributing food boxes and gifts baskets from St. Michael's to the selected recipients. Ken Hallgren, event co-chairman, said anyone wishing to help is welcome.

'It's a heartwarming thing to work with so many people from town,' volunteer Miller said of her experience working on the Christmas basket program.

Haneberg said one of her favorite parts of the program is seeing how dedicated local students are to collecting canned food and raising money.

Last year, 400 Sandy area families -- a total of 1,218 people -- had a merrier holiday season thanks to the Christmas basket program.

Donations for meat and fresh foods may still be made to Kiwanis Community Christmas Baskets, P.O. Box 1261, Sandy.

For more information about the Christmas basket program, call Hallgren at 503-668-6015 or 503-701-2141.