KRAI Holiday Drive raises more than $25,000 |

KRAI Holiday Drive raises more than $25,000

Nicole Inglis

Bikes, basketballs, fishing poles, hula-hoops, skateboards, action figures and dolls are just a few of the thousands of items collected during the 2009 KRAI Holiday Drive. The toys will be separated into bundles and given to families in need.

— From the thousands of people who stopped by or volunteered at the 2009 KRAI Holiday Drive, radio station owner Frank Hanel remembered a young boy no more than 5 years old.

He had received a check for $5 from his grandparents for his birthday.

But when his parents took him to the west entrance of the Centennial Mall, he handed the check over to Hanel and the team collecting donations for needy families.

"That's what really makes the event," Hanel said. "It's setting a standard. Pay it forward. You give when you can, and other people will see it and think, 'That really moved me,' and so they'll give."

The 11th annual drive raised more than $25,000 for the Interfaith Food Bank, Advocates-Crisis Support Services, Christmas for Kids and Christmas for Seniors.

In addition to cash donations, more than 7,000 pounds of food was hauled to the food bank and its storage center where it will keep the organization stocked until spring, Hanel said.

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"It's pretty incredible," he said. "You start thinking about population of Moffat County, and there's only about 12,000 people. That's more than $2 per person in the county. No other place gives like this."

He said with the economy in its current state, many were worried donations would decrease from previous years.

Instead, they raised more cash than in 2008.

It was also the greatest amount of money KRAI has donated to the four agencies.

One year, the drive raised $30,000, but the funds were split five ways to help a needy business whose office burned down.

Hanel said he always is amazed by the giving nature of the Craig community, especially with difficult times facing many families.

"I don't know why it's like this," he said. "It's the community. They never fail to surprise me time and time again."

He said after 11 years, people have begun to see the holiday drive as a yearly tradition.

"People understand the value of their hometown," he said. "We're just giving them a reason. They have to find it in themselves to write that check."

But Hanel found that no matter the stakes, people in the community anteed up.

One hour he chose as a $1,000 hour for the drive, during which he asked for 10 donations of $100. It was just a time he picked at random, but at the end of the hour, he had more than 12 donations of $100 or more.

He said there were two cash donations of $2,000, one of which came from a volunteer who didn't want Hanel to notice she had slipped the check into the envelope with the other donations.

But it was the small donations, like the young boy with his $5 check, that made up about half the cash totals.

Every cent and every hour spent out in the freezing cold was instrumental in the drive's success, Hanel said.

"It was really phenomenal," he said. "I would say it was the most uplifting drive we've ever had. There was so much enthusiasm throughout community this year."

Holiday drive totals

• Christmas for Kids: $6,432.16

• Christmas for Seniors: $5,753.33

• Advocates-Crisis Support Services: $7,029.33

• Interfaith Food Bank: $6,216.75

• 7,220 pounds of food and more than 2,000 gifts for local seniors and children

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