Assembling Christmas

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The deadline for the Elks Christmas Baskets was Monday.

However, Sara Darden, chairman for the annual effort, said those who still need a basket may call to request one. As of Monday, Ms. Darden said she had received 189 applications and would be able to take a few more names.

“I definitely have enough food for a few more baskets,” she said. “One of the reasons I do the deadline a week early is so I’m able to try to get more toys if I need them.”

Sara Darden, chairman for the Elks Christmas Baskets, says this year's effort has gone smoothly thanks to the help of the community. Members of the public are invited to help assemble baskets and wrap presents Saturday.

Sara Darden, chairman for the Elks Christmas Baskets, says this year’s effort has gone smoothly thanks to the help of the community. Members of the public are invited to help assemble baskets and wrap presents Saturday.

Community members are invited to help the Elks assemble the baskets at 9 a.m. Saturday.

“I’d like to get all the work done in one day,” Ms. Darden said. “That is how it usually works. That way we don’t have to do any work on Sunday.”

Ms. Darden said she will need the most help from the community Saturday.

“On Friday, kids from the high school will come and unload all the food for me and build the boxes. People will be at the Elks Lodge before 9 a.m. on Saturday to set up the tables and boxes,” she said.

Volunteers are needed Saturday to put food in the boxes and to wrap and organize presents.

“It doesn’t sound like a lot of work, but it actually is,” Ms. Darden said.

Ms. Darden said once boxes are assembled she will label them and count them. She said no help is needed to distribute or deliver boxes Monday.

“I have people who do it every year that I rely on,” she said. “We also get repeat volunteers Saturday as well.”

She said the amount of support received so far for the effort this year has been outstanding.

“Not only have we received generous monetary donations, but we have received toys and stuff animals. It’s just been awesome,” Ms. Darden said. “We just have to get everything put together now.”

She said one exciting thing is Peet Shoe Dryer donated boxes for this year’s effort and will do the same for next year’s effort. Ms. Darden said that means she doesn’t have to worry about gathering boxes or using donations to purchase them if needed.

The effort has been ongoing for more than 25 years, she added. This was Ms. Darden’s first year leading the effort. She took over following her mother, Adie Darden, who headed the effort for many years.

“She has helped me this year too,” Ms. Darden said. “But I have also done quite a bit on my own. I really love doing it.”

She said the purpose of the Elks Christmas Baskets is to help those in need this Christmas season.

“It’s just to help those who can’t afford their own Christmas. Times are tough during this part of the year; people come up short and so we just want to try and help people out,” Ms. Darden said.

If a family or individual is still in need of a basket, call the Elks Lodge at 245-1418.

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