Community Center holding fundraiser for families in need

by RACHEL SUN
Staff Writer | November 17, 2020 12:00 AM

Hope’s Memorial Community Center is holding a fundraiser to benefit families with children now until Dec. 12 when gifts will be distributed.

Donations will go to benefit families who live between the Pack River at Highway 200 and the Montana-Idaho border.

Normally, there would be a big event with volunteers present while families come to pick up gifts the same day, said chair of the board Dawn Brinker. Because of COVID-19, volunteers will wrap gifts ahead of time and families will be able to schedule times for pickup.

This year volunteers are also doing all the shopping for gifts and wrapping at home to avoid COVID-19 risks said volunteer coordinator Ellen Westfall.

Parents who apply for the program can write down specific presents on their child’s wishlist, which volunteers go and buy instead of trying to guess what gift would be best, she said.

“Whatever the parents ask for,” she said. “A ten-year-old, they might not want a toy but might want a sweatshirt or the coolest pants.”

The MCC wanted to put a special focus on families this year, Brinker said, because of the added stress and financial burdens brought on by COVID-19.

There are single-parent families struggling, she said, as well as families where one parent works and the other is a caretaker or even families where both parents have lost their income.

“People have been laid off their jobs, so they’re short this year,” she said.

For families accepted into the program, toys and clothing will be provided for children 12 and under, and gift cards for children 13 to 18, according to the press release.

Children will also receive a small gift to put under the tree for their parents, and handmade socks and gloves made by a community knitters group will be distributed.

Program organizers plan to serve roughly 30 local families and are aiming to raise $5,000, according to the press release.

“The program is [earning annually] about $3,500 to $5,000,” Brinker said. “Usually we serve about 30-35 families.”

Additional donations will also go to the Clark Fork Food Bank, Brinker said.

Normally, the group partnered with the food bank to provide Thanksgiving meals to families. However, due to COVID-19 and social distancing protocols, families can instead go to the food bank directly and families with vouchers provided by MCC.

Canned goods or non-perishable items can be delivered to the food bank from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays.

To participate, families must be accepted into the program in advance, Brinker said. Applications are open until Nov. 17. MCC is also looking for volunteers to help wrap presents, she said. and those who would like to make a nomination for the program or volunteer can call (208) 264-5481.

For those who would like to donate, they can drop off monetary donations at 415 Wellington Place, Hope Tuesday through Thursday 10 a.m. to noon, donate online at donorbox.org/christmas-giving-program or mail checks to MCC P.O. Box 405 Hope, ID 8836.