Holiday spirits

Coordinators find gift-giving programs rewarding work

From a void came creation.

In 2002, Betsy Peck was looking for somewhere to focus her energies.

Peck and her friend, the late Georgina McAnally, reached a conclusion that year -- not enough was being done for the elderly.

Enter Christmas for Seniors.

Assessing a need, and stepping in to fill it, was the same thing that happened to Amber Kawcak this year. McAnally, who coordinated Christmas for Kids, a similarly successful holiday giving program, intended to step down.

So Kawcak stepped up.

Peck's and Kawcak's efforts, as the respective coordinators for Christmas for Seniors and Christmas for Kids, culminates next week when about 550 Craig and surrounding residents receive holiday gifts they otherwise would not have gotten.

"It's just heartwarming," said Peck, who has coordinated Christmas for Seniors since its inception. "I just enjoy doing something for seniors. Some of them have a really rough go of it."

"It makes you feel good," said Kawcak, who's in her second year -- her first as coordinator -- with Christmas for Kids. "It just gives you that holiday spirit."

Peck and 10 volunteers will deliver gifts to more than 200 residents of Sunset Meadows I and II, Sandrock Ridge and Jewel senior centers Monday through Wednesday.

They also will deliver presents to about 20 private residents.

On Tuesday and Thursday, Kawcak and five to eight other volunteers will distribute 750 to 1,000 presents to 350 local children, ranging from infants to 16-year-olds.

The presents range from modest stocking stuffers to bicycles, Barbie dolls and electronics, Kawcak said.

The collective efforts of Peck and Kawcak have caught the attention of Moffat County United Way Director Corrie Scott, who provides some assistance to the programs.

"They just do a wonderful job with those programs," Scott said. "We're very fortunate to have both of those ladies.

"It's so wonderful to see how generous our community is."

Kawcak and Peck said they will remain as the Christmas program coordinators for the foreseeable future.

"I know what a wonderful community Craig is," Peck said. "I think people are so kind and considerate and want to do something to help."

"(Georgina) had a strong belief that no child should be without on Christmas," Kawcak said. "I really think that Christmas is for kids, and, despite their circumstances, every child should at least have gifts under the tree."

Joshua Roberts can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210, or jroberts@craigdailypress.com.

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