With Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and Colorado Gives Day in our rear view, there’s no denying that the holiday season is in full swing. The holidays are often considered to be the happiest time of year, but for families that are struggling to make ends meet, it can be a very challenging time as well. The generosity of our community is evident year-round, but it truly shines this time of year as local businesses, public service and nonprofit agencies come together with a common goal of extending the joy of the season through giving. Listed below are just a few of the programs available in Grand County during the holiday season.

Mountain Family Center’s Holiday Gift Program

Mountain Family CenterMountain Family Center’s Holiday Gift Program began in 2000, and they have been giving out coats and clothes to those in need for many years longer than that!  Executive Director, Helen Sedlar, stated “We help over 100 families and 300+ children through our Mountain Family Center holiday program. We also partner with Cooper Creek Square’s Angel Tree and the Grand Angel’s Joyful Givers to make sure that, between our programs, families are able to celebrate the holidays, and, there is no duplication.” Sedlar estimated that, between the 3 agencies, over 500 local children will be able to celebrate the Christmas holidays this year.

The program continues to grow each year, and, for the past few years, Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating has been leading the program charge! With support from the community, they were able to provide gifts for 115 families/314 children in 2016 and are on track to reach a similar number this year! The program offers mutual benefits for everyone involved – from the community members who purchase gifts, to the sites who host the tubs, to the families and children who receive gifts, and, to the Mountain Family Center staff who get the joy of coordinating it all.

Mountain Family Center is still accepting sponsors to buy specific gifts from family wish lists through Monday, December 8th. Anyone interested can email katie@mountainfamilycenter.org. Otherwise, the “gift room” is open from December 11th – December 21st for families who missed signup for the main program. Donations of gift cards (Amazon, iTunes, Target, Walmart, etc.) for older children and teenagers who shop the gift room are greatly appreciated, and family board games and sports equipment are always very popular items as well!

Donations are accepted at the following sites:

Grand Lake Plumbing and Heating – Grand Lake

Country Ace Hardware – Granby

Town Hall – Granby

Chamber of Commerce – Granby, Grand Lake, Kremmling, Winter Park/Fraser

Grand Mountain Banks – Granby, Grand Lake, Kremmling, Fraser

The Angel Tree at Cooper Creek Square

The Angel Tree is a community tradition providing holiday cheer to Grand County families in need. To participate, you simply pick an Angel

card from the tree, complete the receipt at the bottom of the card and place it in the receptacle box by the tree, and then shop for your chosen Angel(s). To ensure that gifts are delivered in time for Christmas, you just need to bring your gifts back to Cooper Creek Square by December 17.

If you haven’t got time to shop, you can also give a cash donation, and, Angel shoppers will take care of the shopping and gift wrapping for you!

To make a cash donation, or, for more information, contact Stephanie Carey at stephanie@skybluecolorado.com

Grand Angels

No neighbor, especially a child, should go hungry whether it be for food, education or opportunities.  Grand Angels exists because of the Grand people of Grand County who have banded together to help meet the needs of our neighbors. The team’s focus is to provide a hand up, not a hand out,to people going through difficult times. Grand Angels strives to be a bridge that connects neighbors in need with local resources.

Grand AngelsTrinity Church in the Pines donates space and services for the food bank. Therefore, they have no overhead and no expenses. 100% of funds raised go to meet the feed and meet the needs of our neighbors.

Grand Angels provides food to the hungry, partners with other organizations to identify the best assistance resources, they provide children with warm clothing, eye glasses and other needs, they provide gas for job interviews and medical appointments, and, they provide Christmas presents to children to ensure their basic needs are met through the Joyful Givers campaign. They encourage anyone who is able to sponsor a child and help make Christmas a little brighter for a Grand County youngster in need.

Neighbors helped In 2016:

  • 702 fed through the food bank, including 277 children
  • 30% were first time visitors
  • 194 calls to the crisis line
  • 150 helped through GRAND KIDS project
  • 238 children sponsored through JOY
  • 850 volunteer hours

For more information, to volunteer, or, to sponsor a Grand County child via the Joyful Givers campaign, call (970) 627-3510 ext. 315, or, visit grandangels.net

Grand Angels is also hosting a Secret Santa Shop at the Grand Lake Community House from 10 am – 3 pm on December 15th and 16th. Kids can come in and pick a gift for Mom, Dad and their four-legged family members. Donations are gratefully accepted, and they are still looking for volunteers.  Please call Jennifer Brown at (720) 620-2508 or email: jennifer@homeingrandlake.com

Shining Stars Foundation Raising Cheer for Annual Toy Drive

The Shining Stars Foundation hosts a toy drive and a holiday party each December. During the holiday party, children facing cancer or

Shining Stars Party with Santa

Shining Stars Party with Santa

another life- threatening illness and their siblings can pick out toys to take home free of charge. The party also features a delicious holiday meal, carol singers and a gift card for each family. The event allows our families to come together and celebrate life, and the toys provide some relief for families under immense financial stress due to expensive medical treatments. For some children, these are the only gifts they will receive this holiday season.

Help make the holidays shine a little brighter for these deserving children! From November 14th through December 14th, Shining Stars will be accepting unwrapped gift cards and new toys for children ages 2-20. Drop off new, unwrapped toys at the following locations: in Fraser at Bank of the West, in Granby at A La Mode Salon, East Grand Middle School, Middle Park High School and Mad Hatters Tatoo; in Tabernash at the Shining Stars Administrative Office and Winter Park Christian School; and, in Winter Park at Breeze at Ski Depot Sports, Elevate Pilates and Studio 401.

For more information, contact the Shining Stars Foundation at Office@ShiningStarsFoundation.org or 970-726-8009.

1st Annual Grand County Toy Drive In Honor of Robbie Butler
Cops Fighting Cancer’s mission is to provide individualized financial, practical and emotional support to Colorado cancer patients and their families.

Toys will be collected throughout Grand County in honor of little Robbie Butler who gained his angel wings on August 6th, 2017. Words for Robbie by his family “A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.” Robbie’s heart was always fullest, when bringing joy into another person’s life. He lived for smiles and hugs, and had plenty of both for everyone he met. Much like his hero, Santa, Robbie was a true giver. He would love to know that so much joy was being spread to other children in his name, by his community and loved ones.

The family will be joining the Grand County Sheriff’s Office on December 14th, 2017, to hand out these gifts at The Children’s Hospital Colorado, 13123 East 16th Ave in Aurora. They will collect toys until December 10th, to bring to Children’s Hospital to hand out to children that are in the hospital during the holidays. It means a great deal to the children to see Law Enforcement personnel spending time with them and bringing them gifts. It is amazing to see their faces light up when they receive those gifts. There truly are no words that can explain the joy it brings.

Donations are accepted in Fraser at Ace Hardware and Murdoch’s; in Granby at Alpine Lumber, Dr. Tenney’s office, CarQuest, Country Ace Hardware, City Market, Java Lava, Kopy Kat, Mountain Parks Electric and Ten Mile Medical Clinic; in Grand Lake at Manes to Tame and Mountain Food Market; in Hot Sulphur Springs at the Grand County Sheriff’s office; in Kremmling at Jilly’s, Northwest Ranch Supply and the Mercantile, and, The Parshall Inn.

Contact the Grand County Sheriff’s Office (970)725-3343 for more information.

Altitude Pizza’s Christmas Giving Tree

Altitude Pizza Giving Tree

Altitude Pizza Giving Tree

Even Granby’s newest pizza shop, Altitude Pizza, got in the spirit of the season by creating their first Christmas Giving Tree. They assembled a group of 8 local children in need of sponsorship, and, by December 1, all 8 had been spoken for, prompting them to double their efforts for next season!

We are very thankful to everyone that shares the joy of the season with others, it is the generosity of our community that makes it the special place we call home.