Serving up happier holidays for local kids | SummitDaily.com

Serving up happier holidays for local kids

NICOLE FORMOSA

Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc

SILVERTHORNE – The holiday spirit seeped from the gymnasium at the Summit County Christian School in Silverthorne Wednesday and into the parking lot as parents and kids walked outside with packages and ear-to-ear grins.Inside, at the Adopt an Angel shopping event, the source of the smiles was apparent.The perimeter of half the large room was stacked with presents – everything from books to action figures and board games to basketballs – fit for infants to teenagers.Gift wrappers speedily packaged presents at two long tables, while firefighters, police officers and local paramedics mingled with local kids.Some parents led excited toddlers and kids around the room, watching as they peered at toys they would like to see under the tree on Sunday morning.Thanks to the Adopt an Angel gift giving program, many of those kids will have a present to open on Christmas.

Every year, Adopt an Angel provides gifts to children in need, and expanded countywide this season, after taking place for 10 years exclusively in Silverthorne.”It’s awesome,” said Frisco resident Julio Mora as he browsed the room for gifts for his 4- and 6-year-old nephews. “It’s a great thing about the community helping people – the way we help the community, the community helps us. It has an impact on all races and different ethnic groups.”Sheriff John Minor worked for the Silverthorne Police Department when the program began. He recalled Wednesday how the event sprouted from a Christmas party at the Elks Lodge where there were two kids who really wanted bicycles.All the police officers chipped in to purchase the bikes and delivered the gifts to the kids’ homes.Over the next 10 years, the program continued to grow, with the Silverthorne Police Department eventually providing more than 300 local kids per year with presents.This year, the Breckenridge Police Department and the Summit County Sheriff’s Office pitched in to help provide gifts to kids in the south end of the county, while the Frisco and Dillon police departments joined Silverthorne’s efforts.

In total, 304 families and 752 kids received presents from the Silverthorne shopping event, while 92 families and 207 kids were served at the Breckenridge event at the Breckenridge Recreation Center.”It’s amazing to see it come this far,” Minor said.Not only is the event beneficial for the families who need gifts for their kids, but it’s rewarding for volunteers as well.Cathy Gammel and her 15-year-old daughter Samantha spent a few hours busily wrapping gifts on Wednesday.”I feel blessed. I know there are people who have less than me,” Samantha said while manning her position at the table.Adopt an Angel relies on donations, grants and the overall generosity of those willing to purchase gifts to keep the program alive.

The Summit Daily Holiday fund contributed $750 to Adopt an Angel last year, said organizer and Silverthorne public information officer Verna Pottle. All of that money went toward gifts and wrapping supplies to help kids in need have a happier holiday.And every last gift was needed.”The last person was out of there at 7:30 (Wednesday night) and we had eight books left and that was it,” Pottle said.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at nformosa@summitdaily.com