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Center's gift giveaway a huge success


130 needy Estacada families adopted by anonymous donors

by: NEWS PHOTOS: SCOTT JORGENSEN - Volunteer Janet Powers prepares presents for delivery. A room full of Christmas presents awaited eager recipients on Friday morning, Dec. 14, at the Estacada Community Center.

The center was alive with activity as 9 a.m. approached, with a line full of people set to receive gifts.

Preparations for the giveaway started in early October. The Estacada Area Food Bank referred needy families to the library, where they filled out forms requesting the gifts.

Approximately 130 families were adopted by anonymous sponsors, helping to make Christmas a reality for the less fortunate in Estacada.

Gifts began arriving Wednesday, Dec. 12. Cliff Hellard, whose wife, Janet Kiger-Hellard, organized the giveaway, describes it as an “amazing operation.”

“There was a lot of preparation. It all comes down to this day,” he said. “Everybody just seems to step up.”

Shopping carts filled with items were lined up in the aisles, then rolled to grateful recipients by volunteers like Janet Powers.

“This is so fun,” Powers said. “I love doing this.”

Kiger-Hellard has been organizing the event for the last eight years. It has helped as many as 180 families at a time since then.

“It’s a huge program, and it’s neighbors helping neighbors,” Kiger-Hellard said. “It’s really a blessing for the people here.”

A committee helps Kiger-Hellard put it together, and several local businesses also assist. Figaro’s Pizza helps by providing food for the volunteers.

“This puts the Christmas spirit in the givers’ hearts and the people who receive. It’s wonderful,” Kiger-Hellard said.

“There’s a huge need in this community.”

Cliff Hellard characterizes his role as an “elf” helper and is also impressed at the level of involvement and participation.

“Everybody just seems to step up,” he said. “They do it out of the goodness of their hearts.”

For more information on how to help with next year’s gift drive, call Janet Kiger-Hellard, 503-630-7433.