Giving for everybody’s good |

Giving for everybody’s good

Photo by Ryan Salm/Sierra Sun Elmo sits in the foreground of the Truckee Community Christmas event on Wednesday. More than 100 local families received gifts from the annual toy and food drive.

In the Tahoe Truckee High School cafeteria on Wednesday, a single mother stood crying and shaking her head in disbelief. In her outstretched hand hung a sagging bag filled with donated gifts for her child. Across the table a volunteer slid cardboard box of produce, turkey, and canned goods.”Oh! All of these?!” the woman asked with an overwhelmed smile. Then in a quiet whisper, “Thank you. Thank you,” she said.On that morning, more than 100 of Truckee’s neediest families were welcomed to the 10th annual Truckee Community Christmas. Two hundred and fifty boxes of donated food lined the floor in neat rows, nearly 700 donated toys sat wrapped, sorted, and bagged for their designated recipients. Volunteers directed foot-traffic, toddlers rolled on the floor with new stuffed animals and bright rubber balls. “One of the great things about Truckee is that it is still small enough that we can care for our families,” said Anita Spencer, a member of Soroptimist International of Truckee Donner, the philanthropic group that organizes the Truckee Community Christmas toy drive.

“These people really do need the help,” Spencer said. “There’s no mistaking that.” Besides the 120 families that received Christmas gifts and food on Wednesday, another 120 seniors, home-bound residents, and teen mothers received delivered donations this week. “It’s great for my kids because I can use the little money I have to buy them what they really need, like clothing and food,” said Mandy Karvonen, a young mother who has been a Community Christmas recipient for the past three years, and who volunteered as a translator at this week’s distribution.”Then I can come here and get the toys that make Christmas fun,” she said. “Without it, my kids were not going to have a Christmas.” Community Christmas is a joint effort of the Truckee Community Christmas Inc., and a group of local philanthropic organizations and individuals that organize toy, food, coat drives and fundraising efforts.

This year, aside from the gifts and goods, more than $15,000 was raised, all of which went to purchasing grocery gift certificates for each family or single recipient. One community member even purchased a lottery ticket to be included in every food box.”The families were very appreciative,” said Joan Hartwell, president of the Truckee Community Christmas Inc. board. “[Many] are having tough time and are working hard to hold things together. We want to get them over the hump of the holiday.”SidebarA community reaches out

• 120 Truckee families served by Community Christmas• 250 boxes of donated food • 700 donated toys• 120 seniors, home-bound residents and teen mothers to receive delivered donations• $15,000 raised to purchasing grocery gift certificates

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