Thornton’s Perfect Holiday Gift program is calling for more donors and volunteers, and potentially more participants.
Raquel Jiménez, community connections coordinator, said the …
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Thornton’s Perfect Holiday Gift program is calling for more donors and volunteers– and potentially, more participants.
Raquel Jiménez, Thornton community connections coordinator, said the deadline for families to apply to the program was originally Nov. 23, but she closed the application early because they need more donors.
It’s a balancing act, since having more donors means the application can reopen for more families to benefit.
“It's that dynamic where we're checking donor activity and applications,” she said.
The last day to sign up to be a donor is Dec. 19.
The Perfect Holiday Gift program connects struggling families with donors who purchase gifts and meals for the families. Thornton partners with various nonprofit organizations, school districts, private organizations and government entities to support the program.
The case managers within those organizations nominate families and the program serves around 80 to 100 people each year who qualify for the support. This year, 100 families have already applied.
According to Jiménez, a case manager must nominate the family and submit a brief story about them. Families also must live in Thornton, however, those experiencing homelessness do qualify.
Those in need submit a wishlist for gifts and receive a meal. The meal shopping list is on their website, https://perfectholidaygift.thorntonco.gov/, and usually costs between $40 and $60. It includes corn, beans, cranberry sauce, potatoes, stuffing, marshmallows and a $20 gift card to give the family for their choice of protein.
Jiménez said donors report spending between $40 and $50 per person for the wishlists. Although, families are notified that they may not receive everything on the list.
“I just appreciate the resilience that people continue to demonstrate, asking for help is a sign of courage,” Jiménez said.
Their website also includes quotes from families who have benefitted from the program.
“There aren’t words that can express my gratitude. It’s the first time we experienced this type of kindness,” one quote reads. "With everything going on this is something that fills me with joy. My kids are very important to me and you don’t know how much you have helped. You were able to give them joy that I couldn’t this year because of the pandemic. Blessings and thanks I send your way."
For those looking to help with the program, volunteers can sign up for shifts between Nov. 28 and Dec. 19. Shifts run from 4-6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon on Fridays.
Additionally, shifts will be available at 8 a.m. on weekends. The additional shifts run until 7 p.m. Dec. 16 and until noon Dec. 10, 17, and 19.
“Volunteers will accept the gifts and meals from our donors, wrap, store and organize them in our PHG room, and contact the families to let them know their gifts and meals are ready to be picked up. Then they will help the families and/or residents when they pick up their gifts and meals,” Jiménez said.
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