Dec. 19, 2018 — Saturday’s Soroptimist International of Florence’s annual Florence Community Christmas Basket project was deemed a resounding success by organizers, as the event brought food and toys to hundreds of families throughout the region.
“It went according to the way it was supposed to go, is the best way to say it,” said Carol Bennett, who organized the food basket portion of the event. “Fortunately, the weather cooperated. It was cold, but not wet, which is always a plus. We can always handle one or the other, but both is really tough.”
The event was broken up into two sections, the first being the toy giveaway, which took place at the Florence Church of the Nazarene. Saturday’s event saw 158 families picking up a plethora of toys for children aged newborn through 12.
“They were very busy,” Bennett said about the giveaway, which also gave out stocking stuffers and socks and gloves for all the children.
Then, at Siuslaw Middle School, the food basket giveaway took place, which had a count of 350 families showing up to receive ingredients for a home-cooked holiday meal. The boxes included chicken or turkey, cranberry sauce, canned vegetables and other traditional holiday staples.
“We also added chicken broth this year, but I don’t think that’s a newsworthy item,” Bennett said.
The boxes also included cookies from the Little Dutch Boy Cookie Company, which are donated directly from the company in their hometown of Draper, Utah, specifically for this event.
“They send those to Roby’s, who stored them in time for delivery,” said Bennet.
Roby’s Furniture and Appliance was just one part of a community wide effort to help bring food to local residents, as over 100 volunteers helped out in the event.
“We had the Camp Florence boys, several people from the casino, Rotarians, kids from the Interact Club, the new owners of Grocery Outlet, St. Vincent DePaul, and firefighters who helped direct the traffic and put boxes in the cars,” Bennet said. “We have a lot of people who are loyal to the program and come every year. I just want to thank the community and all the volunteers and the people who donated both toys and money.”
Despite the large number of people who showed up to receive the food, there were still leftovers, which were given to Florence Food Share.
“That’s okay,” said Bennett. “We’d rather buy a little more than we need then run out. My bet is, the food we gave Saturday is already gone. The important thing is that we’re feeding the people.”