'Little magic things'

Holiday Drive to benefit Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center, other organizations

During the Holiday Drive hosted by 93.7 and 102.3 KRAI/55 Country last year, radio station owner Frank Hanel promised employees at Advocates-Crisis Support Services they would have a water heater for their new office within half an hour.

Hanel followed through, announcing the organization's need on the air.

In 10 minutes, thanks to a high school volunteer, he had secured a water heater and the labor to install it.

This year, with volunteer help, another such event - "the little magic things," Hanel said - could happen again.

The radio station's ninth annual Holiday Drive is scheduled from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday at the Craig Centennial Mall, 1111 W. Victory Way. With it, the radio station hopes to raise money and collect donations for five local organizations, including one displaced by the Country Mall fire last week.

Radio station employees will broadcast the event live in front of the west entrance of the Centennial Mall in Craig where they will accept cash donations and materials, Hanel said.

Proceeds from the drive will be donated to the Interfaith Food Bank, Advocates, Christmas for Kids and Christmas for Seniors, four organizations the drive has benefited annually.

This year, the drive will also collect donations and resources for the Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center. The organization's office was in the Country Mall, which was destroyed by a fire Nov. 25.

The organization recently relocated to an auxiliary building near the Faith Lutheran Church, 580 Green St., said Debbie Rudd, Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center director. Since relocating, the organization has had most of its office needs met.

Cash donations can be designated to one or more of the five organizations. Undesignated donations will be split equally among the five.

Donors also can bring new items to the Centennial Mall during the drive. Used items will not be accepted.

The drive will collect new, unwrapped toys for the Christmas for Kids program, which will distribute the toys to local children. Its offshoot program, Christmas for Seniors, is seeking cash and gifts for senior citizens who don't have family or friends nearby, people who "can use a friend during the holiday season," Hanel said.

The Interfaith Food Bank will accept non-perishable food items.

Donations will be collected for Yampa Valley Pregnancy Center to replace items such as blankets and baby foods the organization lost in the fire two weeks ago.

Advocates is accepting donated furnishings for its new domestic abuse shelter for victims of domestic violence. The organization also will accept cash donations, which will be applied to its operating budget, Advocates program coordinator Anngie Sparks said.

The response to the fundraiser has been "overwhelming," Sparks said.

"The community has been very good about contributing," she said.

For this year's drive, the radio station is looking for volunteers willing to "put a little sweat equity in the process" and help load, haul and unload donations, Hanel said.

Breakfast, lunch and other refreshments will be provided for volunteers.

The radio station is also accepting musical acts to air during the drive.

Last year, the Holiday Drive raised $25,000 - the most money collected in the drive's nine-year history, Hanel said.

The drive collected nearly 1,000 toys and garnered almost 5,800 pounds of imperishable food items.

Hanel estimated that last year's cash donations averaged out to about $2 per Moffat County resident - a per-capita donation rate unequalled in urban areas, he said.

The owner hasn't set a goal for this year's drive. If the drive proves as profitable as last year, "I'd be tickled pink," he said.

Bridget Manley can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 207 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com

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