The 2017 community Christmas Basket Distribution was in full force on Saturday as Soroptimist International of Florence, with help from numerous local organizations and volunteers, helped bring food and toys to hundreds of families throughout the Siuslaw region.
The food portion of the event, held at Siuslaw Middle School and coordinated by Soroptimist member Carol Bennett, gave food boxes to approximately 380 families. The boxes, valued at $50, included a host of items including a whole turkey or chicken, stuffing, fresh potatoes, dinner rolls and various holiday staples and snacks. All of the food was newly purchased, with $20,000 donated from multiple organizations and individuals in the community.
“I want to thank the volunteers that came to help distribute the food, and the suppliers that gave us great prices on the food,” Bennett said. Both St. Vincent de Paul and Heceta Self Storage provided trucks to bring in the food and boxes.
On the toy end of the event, 201 families were served, giving holiday toys to 526 children in the community. “The day went terrifically,” said Michelle Fraley, Soroptimist member and co-chair for the toy program. She shares the responsibility with Shasta McMullen.
Hundreds of toys filled the Florence Church of the Nazarene, such as games, puzzles, action figures and dolls. “We could not do this without the generous support of the community and the local businesses and all the volunteers,” Fraley said.