Community response to giving programs ‘awesome, incredible’

by marlys good

The community’s response to the annual giving programs was as generous this year as it was last year.

Browsers and buyers stepping in and out of the doors at the Herb Asp Community Center Saturday, Dec. 5, during the annual holiday bazaar dropped $800 into the Salvation Army’s familiar black kettle. Kay Mattis, who coordinates the effort with Bev Jacobs, said the $800 does not include other donations received before/after Dec. 5. “We ran out of volunteers to ring the bells,” she laughed, adding, “People were very generous.”

All of the donations stay in the community to help people in need, whether for gas, bus tickets, food, clothing, prescriptions, etc.

The giving program that benefits residents at the Wyoming Retirement Center and Bonnie Bluejacket Memorial Nursing Home, was deemed a “success” by a spokesman at Bank of Greybull, sponsor of the annual event.

There were 50 names on the list this year, a number that “is increasing every year.”

Fifteen Christmas baskets were delivered this year, down about half from 2014. Donations for the baskets were made through Big Horn Federal; the baskets, each including everything needed to put Christmas dinner on the table, were assembled by members of the Greybull Elks Lodge.

According to Sherri Wilkinson of Big Horn Federal, donations covered the cost of the baskets of food, with “a little seed money left for 2016.”

“The Wise Man’s Star,” at the Community Outreach thrift store was geared to infants through high school students in Greybull and Basin. According to Kelsey Sears, who spearheaded this year’s program, “We had 52 ‘stars’ on the tree We had a lot of last-minute sponsors (in addition to monetary donations) and the sponsors did well.”

Sears said when they needed more toys, they went through Toys for Tots to ensure they had enough to fill requests.

Harold Wages of the Big Horn/Park Young Marine Organization, sponsor of Toys for Tots, said the generosity shown by the community was “awesome. The response was incredible.” Wages said multiple pickups were made of the toy containers at TCT, Valley Hardware and Basin Town Hall, as well as from Shopko, Big Horn Co-op, and Big Horn Federal in Greybull.

Wages said the Young Marines also received requests on the Toys for Tots website. “Any requests we got online I cross-referenced with those received by (Alice Williams, manager of Community Outreach).”

Wages estimated he distributed toys to 75-80 young people.

Wages said the bins at the stores remained in place after Christmas so people looking for bargains could take advantage of the reduced prices. “They aren’t late for this year’s Toys for Tots; they are just very early for next year,” he laughed.

Sears said this was her second year helping with the “Wise Man’s Star,” but the first time she was “kind of in charge of it. It gave me a lot of joy knowing that kids who might not have had a Christmas, had one.” Sear said when you volunteer, “You get as much back, or more, than you give.“