The Pueblo Chieftan

Pueblo West families give and receive

Dozens of families in Pueblo West received a helping hand last week with Parks and Recreation Christmas baskets, something that has become a staple in the Pueblo West community over the last two decades.

There were 76 families that received food and gift baskets, and four more families who received help purchasing presents for their children.

The community at large chips in to make the baskets a reality each year for those who need them.

“We had lots of money collected at the schools, and lots of other people and organizations gave, too,” said Parks and Recreation Director Carol Cosby.

She noted that no funds from the Parks and Rec budget have to be used for the Christmas baskets, but that pure generosity of the community makes them possible.

Each basket contained food including a ham, potatoes, a bag of apples, pie, bread, cheese, eggs, butter and milk, along with non-perishable items. There were additional necessities such as shampoo, toothpaste and laundry detergent, as well as a warm blanket to snuggle under and gloves, hats or scarves.

Families each received wrapped age-appropriate presents to give to their children.

Pueblo West elementary and middle schools are involved with the Christmas basket drive each year.

Middle schools were asked to collect canned goods (or money to purchase them), while the elementary schools held toy drives.

There were many community groups and organizations that donated, as well.

The Pueblo West Women’s League gave $1,000 as well as mittens and hats, and members helped wrap gifts.

The Pueblo West Wal-Mart gave $1,500, Crown of Life Lutheran Church donated $610, Pueblo West Rotary gave $1,000, Swerdfeger Construction gave $250 and The Knights of Columbus donated $650.

The American Legion Auxiliary purchased several dozen toys and the Pueblo West Quilter’s League made each family a stocking and stuffed some with goodies. Jeanne Foute crocheted blankets for each family with a baby and made jewelry for families with older girls.

Monetary collections from schools included $1,152 from Swallows Charter Academy, $895 from Liberty Point International, $179 from Liberty Point Elementary and $63 from Skyview. The Pueblo West Library contributed $40.

“We also had probably close to 25 people who came and helped wrap gifts for a couple of hours,” Cosby said.

“The Pueblo West Women’s League and girl scouts came, as well as other community volunteers, and we wrapped more than 600 gifts.”

Cosby noted the staff at Walmart was very helpful and generous, because in addition to giving $1,500, they discounted items, donated additional necessities and helped fill the baskets any way they could.

Staff at Pueblo West schools confidentially submit names of families to Parks and Recreation that they believe could use the help of a Christmas basket. Cosby said a few people also called to request help.

Then the Pueblo West Parks and Recreation staff delivers the baskets to keep the details confidential.

“It was nice to give some of the ‘other’ basics like laundry detergent and socks – things that get expensive and often are the first to go if you’re struggling to buy food,” Cosby said. “Our community is great in helping each other.”

Cosby also thanked Skyview Middle School for allow items to be temporarily stored there, and said the custodians at the school were very helpful in loading and unloading trucks.

The baskets were delivered Friday, helping to ensure that everyone in Pueblo West had a happy holiday.

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