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Several groups and many people assist Kiwanis members with Christmas baskets

This is the 57th year that local residents have joined together in a community effort to provide Christmas baskets for needy families in the area.

The volunteer work, spread over several weeks, gathers perishable and nonperishable food as well as gifts for families in situations that would likely prevent them from enjoying anything special during the holidays.

Sandy Kiwanis organizes the project, said Co-chairman Ken Hallgren. The Sandy fire and police departments as well as businesses, local schools and their students, youth organizations and local residents assist with the project.

Distribution of the Christmas baskets is from St. Michael Catholic Church, 18090 Langensand Road, either by pickup or delivery before 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 22.

Last year, more than 400 Sandy-area families (more than 1,200 people) qualified to be recipients of the holiday gift baskets, which include gifts for children and enough food for several meals for all members of each family.

After Thanksgiving break, students from local schools, scouts and other groups begin the food drive for the Kiwanis project. Students collect the majority of the canned food. Assembling the boxes is done with help from Leadership students as well as Key Club and FFA members. Community volunteers also assist with this phase of the project.

The Sandy Fire Department is involved in receiving and processing applications. For people in the Sandy Fire District, applications are available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., during the three weeks between Monday, Nov. 26 and Monday, Dec. 17, at the Sandy fire station, 17460 Bruns Ave.

Collection efforts for the baskets come from three sources. Area schools and community organizations hold food drives to collect the majority of canned foods, while businesses collect and donate new, unwrapped toys. Monetary contributions, Hallgren said, provide meat, fresh foods and additional canned goods to fill the baskets.

To donate unwrapped gifts for the baskets, visit Sandy Fire, Prudential Realty, Les Schwab tires or Sandy’s branch of the Clackamas County Bank.

Donations to pay for meat and other fresh foods may be made to Kiwanis Community Christmas Baskets, P.O. Box 1261, Sandy OR 97055.

For more information about the Christmas Basket program, contact Ken Hallgren, event co-chair, at 503-668-6015.

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