Walking Our Faith: We can provide full bellies and warm bodies this holiday season | SummitDaily.com

Walking Our Faith: We can provide full bellies and warm bodies this holiday season

As I look out my window this balmy October afternoon, I see bluebird skies, aspen trees with bare branches and patches of snow in the shady parts of my yard, but it’s still warm enough to wear a sweatshirt when I walk my dogs. In other words, it’s a perfect afternoon in the mountains.

On such a beautiful fall day, it feels strange to already be thinking about the holiday giving season. On the other hand, we’ve heard that supply-chain bottlenecks will impact holiday shopping. We’ve been urged to buy our Thanksgiving turkeys early and order our favorite toys well before the traditional Black Friday Christmas shopping madness begins.

Therefore, as we make our lists and check them twice a little earlier this year, it’s also the perfect time to remember a few Summit County charities that will ensure our neighbors and friends, especially our children, have full bellies and warm bodies this holiday season.

Here are three of my favorite charities that most effectively accomplish this goal:

Thanksgiving To-Go

This is the sixth year of Thanksgiving To-Go, and it has been a very successful program thanks to the generosity of Summit County religious congregations and organizations. Last year, about 400 City Market and Safeway gift cards were given to folks needing a little extra help and cheer during the holiday season. Once again, only grocery gift cards will be distributed due to the pandemic.

The agencies and charities with whom Terese Keil partners are telling her that the number of people requesting assistance is greater than ever. She is also working with other organizations that would like to receive Thanksgiving To-Go gift cards for their clients and patients, as well.

If you would like to donate to Thanksgiving To-Go, you can purchase one or more supermarket gift cards ($25 for an individual or $50 for a family), or write a check made payable to St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church with “Thanksgiving To-Go” written on the memo line. The grocery gift cards or checks can be mailed to St. John’s P.O. Box 2166, Breckenridge, CO, 80424. Email Keil at tkpropmgmt@aol.com with questions.

Coats and Clothing for Kids

Coordinated by the Knights of Columbus, this project helps provide new winter clothing for needy children in Summit, Grand, Lake, Jackson, Gilpin and Rio Blanco counties. Last year, the organization distributed 2,270 winter clothing items to 1,586 children.

You can help keep our children warm by making a tax-deductible donation payable to Knights of Columbus with “Coats for Kids” written in the memo line. Send your checks to P.O. Box 3673, Dillon, CO, 80435. For more information, contact Mike Kramer at 970-468-6566.

Backpack Food Program

Smart Bellies’ Backpack Food Program works to eliminate childhood hunger by providing bags of nutritious food on weekends for Summit County families who could use extra groceries to provide healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks for their children. According to the Smart Bellies website, the organization feeds around 450 students per week across Summit County schools. A monthly donation of $20 or annual donation of $200 will feed a student for the entire year.

Or you can become a snack program sponsor. A $15 monthly gift will provide snacks for a Summit County classroom. Smart Bellies currently provides 115 classrooms with a bag of snacks each month.

You can also donate kid-friendly food. Find a list of accepted items at SmartBellies.org/donate-food.

If you have more time than money, Smart Bellies loves its volunteers. It needs volunteers for shopping and food collection, packing bags and delivering bags. I’ve delivered bags in the past, and it is a great way to see your donation dollars at work and to feel invested in our community.

It might feel too early to think about holiday giving, but for these three very worthy charities to reach as many families as possible, we need to get the word out and our donations in.

We need to make plans in our holiday budgets to include something extra for these charities. They will use our dollars to make sure our neighbors and children have full bellies and warm bodies this Thanksgiving, Christmas and throughout the new year.

If you know of a Summit County charity that needs a shoutout this holiday season, please send me an email. God bless you!

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