Food Basket program saved, will again help needy families

A pair of warm-hearted holiday offerings, Toys for Tots and Teens and a revamped Community Food Basket program, are ready to make the Christmas season brighter for Enumclaw-area families in need.

A pair of warm-hearted holiday offerings, Toys for Tots and Teens and a revamped Community Food Basket program, are ready to make the Christmas season brighter for Enumclaw-area families in need.

Karen Worthington, a driving force behind the charitable drives, has joined forces with Enumclaw firefighters and the business community. Another partner is the Enumclaw School District, which helps identify families that could use a hand and sends letters that will be received shortly after Thanksgiving.

The Community Food Basket program could have disappeared this year. Worthington was notified earlier this month that funding had evaporated for the program that had been operated for four decades by the Enumclaw Kiwanis Club and Helping Hand. Determined that the program must go on, Worthington contacted Marin Otto at the Enumclaw Fire Department and teamed with Fugate Ford and city police to assure the charitable program continues.

Letters explaining both programs were put in the mail and, once returned, organizers will fully understand the scope of their undertaking. The Food Basket program helped 150 families last year and Worthington is anticipating 200 this time around. A year ago, through the Toys for Tots and Teens program, nearly 400 children were able to receive a gift on Christmas morning.

Worthington and Otto are counting on the kindness of the Enumclaw community to make both programs happen. They have started collecting cash, canned goods and gift cards to pay for the holiday meals. The plan is purchase a ham for each family and nonperishable items to complement the meal; the gift cards will be passed out so each family can round out the meal to their liking.

The food will be purchased from local stores and it’s asked that gift cards be purchased from Safeway, QFC or Grocery Outlet in Enumclaw.

All donations can be taken to the Enumclaw Fire Department headquarters, 1330 Wells St. Donations should be turned in by Dec. 14, allowing volunteers to set up Dec. 15 and distribute food and gifts on the 16th.

Coming up are several opportunities for people to help the cause.

• the Enumclaw Holiday Fun Run/Walk 5K takes place Dec. 2 and organizers are contributing profits to the food and toy programs.

• on the evening of Dec. 2, the annual holiday parade rolls down Cole Street in downtown Enumclaw. Fire department personnel and Fugate Ford employees will be passing out information about the popular Santa Run.

• Dec. 6-9 marks the much-anticipated Santa Run, which spreads cheer through city neighborhoods while also collecting food and toy donations.

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