'Big shoes to fill'

Christmas for Kids, Seniors provide gifts for unfortunate

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Christmas for Seniors

• Individuals 62 years old and older may apply for the program. Applications can be obtained from the office of Janette Harris at Sunset Meadows I, 633 Ledford. Applications are due Dec. 11 and should be returned to Sunset Meadows I.

• Cash and gift donations will be collected at Sunset Meadows I. Donations are due Dec. 15.

• Gifts will be distributed Dec. 15 through Dec. 22.

Christmas for Kids

• To be eligible for the program, parents or guardians must complete an application form available at the United Way Offices located in the First National Bank of the Rockies, 600 Yampa Ave.

• Applications are due to United Way by 4 p.m. Dec. 14.

• Toys can be donated by calling the Moffat County United Way at 824-6222 and scheduling a drop-off time.

• This year, Christmas for Kids is scheduled to distribute toys from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Dec. 18.

— Christmas for Seniors, an organization providing gifts for senior citizens, began with a realization.

Georgina McAnally and Betsy Peck, both of whom were members of the Moffat County Housing Authority, concluded that for some senior citizens, "Christmas isn't necessarily a happy time for them," Peck said.

Since then, Christmas for Seniors and its predecessor, Christmas for Kids, has worked during the holiday season to ensure neither Craig's youngest or oldest citizens are forgotten.

Christmas for Kids collects new toys and distributes them to children - infants through 16-year-olds - whose parents are between jobs, in an emergency situation or "having a hard time," said Christmas for Kids director Amber Kawcak.

Last year, Christmas for Kids collected more than $7,000 and 1,000 toys from the KRAI/55 County Holiday Drive, the organization's largest annual fundraiser, Kawcak said.

With those donations, Christmas for Kids aided about 400 children.

Kawcak took over the program two years ago from late director and founder McAnally.

"She left me big shoes to fill," Kawcak said. "She had a big heart."

McAnally's work laid the groundwork for a similar program, Christmas for Seniors.

Operating under Craig Senior Citizens, a Moffat County non-profit organization, Christmas for Seniors provides gifts and cash donations to local senior residents.

Christmas for Kids "was such a success," said Betsy Peck, Christmas for Seniors coordinator. The application process used by Christmas for Kids was easy to replicate, she added.

Christmas for Seniors, which was first implemented in 2002, provides Christmas gifts for all senior residents of Sunset Meadows I and II and Sandrock Ridge Care and Rehab. Senior citizens at Golden Meadows Apartments and participants in the Meals on Wheels, a meal program for seniors, also receive gifts from the organization.

Last year, the program provided gifts for 221 senior citizens. The program also raised $3,702, said Janette Harris, Sunset Meadows I office manager.

The organization, now in its fifth year, was organized initially through the collaboration between Peck and McAnally.

"She was a very dynamic individual," Peck said of McAnally.

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