The new LEAF Giving Tree program helped 88 people in the Greater Lyons area have brighter holidays, thanks to the donations of skateboards, blouses, toys, books, winter boots, and other gifts piled high at Lyons Community Church.
The inaugural LEAF Giving Tree program wrapped up a successful effort on December 11, delivering hundreds of gifts directly to recipient’s homes. “The compassion and generosity of the people in our community to make the LEAF Giving Tree a success is truly astounding,” said Pam Browning, Chair of the LEAF Board of Directors.
Clients of LEAF’s three programs (Lyons Community Food Pantry, Lyons Meals on Wheels, and Individual and Family Advocacy) were offered the opportunity to fill out forms listing up the three wishes valued at $25 or less. Wishes came pouring in, from single mothers trying to make ends meet, to elderly who were thrilled at the idea of getting a new blouse, to hard working families needing some warm boots and clothes.
Wishes were then listed on handmade ornaments and hung on trees at three locations in town, the Stone Cup, the Barking Dog, and the Lyons Regional Library. “We hung up 88 ornaments just after Thanksgiving, and within a week they had all been chosen. We weren’t sure if we were going to end up with a bunch of ornaments left over at the end. We are so grateful for everyone who picked one!” notes Amy Ogilvie, LEAF Giving Tree volunteer.
LEAF created a giving tree program in response to numerous requests to adopt local families in need from community members during the holidays last year. A group of volunteers, spearheaded by Executive Director Emily Dusel, came together and worked diligently to make the first year a success. Volunteers included Anne Haakenson, Andrea Buus, Abby Wynja, Amy Ogilvie, and Zana Ganzel. “I am so thankful for the opportunity to help those in need during the holiday season. I feels so good to give back,” stated volunteer Zana Ganzel.
The spirit of giving was exceptional in Lyons this year. In addition to the outpouring of support for the LEAF Giving Tree program, the Lyons Middle School Student Council held their annual food drive for the food pantry in November, donating over 800 pounds of food. The Lyons Elementary School PTO held a food drive in December, donating over 2,500 items to the Holiday Food Basket Program and to the food pantry. The High Street Concert Series and Western Stars held food drives as well. And this year the “Sock it to Um” campaign led by John O’Brien delivered hundreds of new socks to LEAF clients. And finally, the annual Holiday Basket program, a collaboration between Higher Ground Ministries, LEAF, the Boulder County Sheriff, and the Lyons Elementary PTO, distributed food baskets loaded with hams, potatoes, fresh fruit, canned goods, and more, to 35 families on December 15th.
The spirit of giving is alive and well in Lyons! Thanks to everyone in our community who helped make the holidays a little brighter for those who need a little extra help this holiday season.