200 Truckee families receive help for the holidays | SierraSun.com

200 Truckee families receive help for the holidays

Josh MillerToys piled up at Tahoe Truckee High School indicate a bountiful year for Truckee's Community Christmas.

White trash bags stuffed with toys and boxes of food covering the floor of the Tahoe Truckee High School cafeteria could only mean one thing – it’s Truckee Community Christmas time.

Approximately 200 families lined up in the Truckee High hallways Monday to receive donations of food, toys and winter clothing – all donated by community members.

“I’ve been doing this for the 22 years I’ve been involved in Soroptimist,” said Pat Callahan, a toy drive coordinator. “To see the smiles on the kids’ faces – it’s incredible.”

On the inside of the cafeteria, the well-oiled machine of organizing food with toys for children of the appropriate ages, has taken more than 20 years of Christmas toy and food drives in Truckee to perfect.

“It’s going really well this year, but it hasn’t gone so well in years past,” said Community Christmas Director Karla Pombo.

Volunteers also distributed food to 25 seniors, and holiday meals and toys to six homebound families.

The Truckee Community Christmas Committee was formed nine years ago to oversee annual holiday food and toy distribution in Truckee. The local chapter of Soroptimists International takes care of the toy drive; the Tahoe Sierra Board of Realtors oversees the food collection; and the Church of the Mountains organizes a warm coat drive.

The committee finds families in need through local schools and social service agencies. Each family is given an application, the committee reviews the paperwork and then sends a postcard to qualifying families.

It’s a large and growing effort – with more families needing assistance each year – but for Community Christmas President Joan Hartwell, and the others who volunteer, it’s well worth it.

“Sometimes families will have enough money for the bare necessities – rent, the bills – but there won’t be enough left over for toys,” Hartwell said. “We can’t stand the thought of a child not getting presents for Christmas.”

For more information on Truckee Community Christmas, call 587-7945.

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