Even with sub-zero temperatures freezing Craig, philanthropy won out.
Volunteers for the 15th annual KRAI and 55 Country Holiday Drive solicited donations outside the Centennial Mall from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday. Many stayed outside nearly the entire first day of the drive.
It paid off.
So far they have collected two truckloads of toys, piles of canned food and cash donations. All the donations will go directly to Advocates Crisis Support Services, the Inter-Faith Food Bank of Craig, Christmas for Kids and Christmas for Seniors.
“One hundred percent goes to the organizations that we’re helping,” said Frank Hanel, owner and general manager of KRAI.
This is a better first day than in years past, he said.
“Last year we had a very slow first day, but this year we had a good first day,” Hanel said. “We’re hoping it continues to pick up.”
Volunteers are fundamental in carrying off the two-day drive, he said. High school students, community members, and Mr. and Mrs. Clause all joined in to help out.
“It’s always good to see how much people give,” said Moffat County High School student and volunteer Jazmine Swindler.
“It’s fun to do too,” said MCHS student Caitlin Harjes.
Gregg Smith has been a volunteer with the holiday drive for nine years. He even gets choked up when he thinks about some of the stories he’s heard over the years about people who hit a rough patch and needed some help.
“Helping out someone else,” Smith said, is the reason for the season.
It’s important to keep in mind people in need, he said.
“Consider those that need the help this time of year and beyond,” Hanel said.
Craig residents are stepping up, he added.
“People made big donations,” he said. One person donated “17 cases of food. That’s huge.”
The volunteers hope the donations will keep up today, the last day of the drive, but Hanel said he was confident that people will continue to show their generosity.
“This community continues to astound me with how giving they are,” Hanel said.
Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or firstname.lastname@example.org.