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Letters to the Editor

Love Baskets needed a shake up

TO THE EDITOR

Love Baskets must have needed to shake it up a little―just as we were getting comfortable.

Our organization (comprised of local community representatives, The Salvation Army, and Toys for Toys) gifts toys, etc. to families needing help in New Richmond and Somerset. Just as the implementation of the program was functioning quite smoothly, we experienced multiple challenges.

We had a new Toys for Tots "elf." We had a new Salvation Army go-to person. Both positions had the same person for a number of years. Our main toy source limited our presence. The retired Derrick crew who had transported our gifts to the distribution party no longer had their truck. We also found ourselves needing help unloading trucks. Meanwhile the number of families needing help increased.

Just like Rudolph with his shiny nose, our sleigh of toys found its way through all the changes. Concerned about getting enough toys, we contacted area banks and a couple of car dealerships, to be sure there were drop off places, and they rose to the occasion! Although they have helped out before, as have other businesses, they were excited to take on a bigger role. We were amazed at the wonderful community support and discovered better resources than we ever knew we had! Kudos to so many area businesses! Your participation demonstrated the true spirit of Christmas!

Our thanks as well to Josh Bell, who picked up toys all over the county for Toys for Tots; also to Kayla Waalen of The Salvation Army who handled so much and organized the Christmas party for our recipients; to the Derrick guys who found vehicles to transport our gift bags; to the Knights of Columbus of both New Richmond and Somerset, who graciously accepted our request to unload the trucks at the party; and finally to Troop 464 for helping families carry their gifts to their cars. We also want to thank those who stepped up to help us pack bags and those who provided family activities at the party. This is truly a community effort.

We continue to appreciate those standbys that have not been mentioned, that continue to be there for us, year after year. Personal thanks to those on our committee, new and old. The New Richmond and Somerset communities never disappoint. Due to your support, hundreds of area kids will have a Merry Christmas!

Lesson learned: Change forces us to find resources we didn't realize we had―some better than what we had before—and teaches us that "we can do it" no matter what challenges we encounter.

Kay Brooks

Love Baskets―New Richmond/Somerset

in conjunction with The Salvation Army and Toys for Tots

Carols for a Cause

TO THE EDITOR

On Sunday, Dec. 16, there was an opportunity to witness true community in New Richmond. The "Carols for a Cause" event was hosted by the New Richmond Community Choir, sponsored by New Richmond Community Education and benefited Five Loaves Food Shelf. Those attending heard some of the best musicians in New Richmond sharing holiday songs through vocal and instrumental arrangements. It was a delightful program enjoyed by everyone.

Five Loaves Food Shelf is very grateful for the generosity of those attending; 448 pounds of non-perishable food items and just over $2,500 in cash was collected. This offering will be a tremendous help in the work of supporting our hungry neighbors. Thank you!

We would also like to express our appreciation to those that were responsible for the program; Bill Leahy, community choir director; the planning committee, Mary Anderson, Maureen Killian and Barbara Peterson and of course, choir members and the special guest performers. It all came together for an unforgettable and worthwhile evening. This was community at its best.

Jean Needham

Executive Director, Five Loaves Food and Clothing