Archive for Thursday, December 13, 2001

Non-perishable food items needed for Jaycee family

December 13, 2001

Every week in December, The Eudora News will publish a list of contributors to Eudora Cares, a special fund set up to support community charities. Last week we looked at the Brooke O'Grady Foundation. This week we look at the Eudora Jaycees Adopt-a-Family project. Please support any worthy philanthropic efforts by sending checks to: Eudora Cares, c/o The Eudora News, 1402-B Church St., Eudora, KS 66025.

The Jaycees' tradition of selecting a Eudora family for their adopt-a-family project is a bittersweet situation for both the family and members of the organization. Although the project allows community members to help people close to home, it also means a closer relationship between the givers and the recipients.

Courtney Stevenson, 12, Eudora, requested $1 million from Santa
Claus for Christmas at the Jaycees lighting ceremony.

Courtney Stevenson, 12, Eudora, requested $1 million from Santa Claus for Christmas at the Jaycees lighting ceremony.

"I don't want them to see me in town, saying, 'Oh, that's the one that helped me,'" said Robin Folks, who is heading up the project for its fifth year.

Although the chosen families keep their anonymity with the rest of the community, the Jaycees are more than eager to publicize the project in hopes of getting donations and getting people involved. The Jaycees still need cash donations and non-perishable food items to fill its traditional half-a-truckload order of donated food, Folks said.

"We make sure they have a turkey or a ham and enough to make a holiday dinner," Folks said, adding that the Jaycees also include enough food to last weeks after the holiday. "It's a lot."

But food is only part of what the Jaycees provide. The organization also fulfills the family's gift wish list. While "Santa Claus" visits with the children and gives them small gifts a few other Jaycees unload the rest of the food and the gifts, which are unwrapped. That means parents can check out the items to make sure they are the right size, pull the tags off, and check out what their children are getting. Plus, it allows them the joy of wrapping the gifts themselves.

Several Jaycees go out and do the shopping each year. "We have a blast," Folks said. "We shopped last year, and it maybe took us two hours. We try to make it an all-day ordeal."

The shoppers toggle between Wal-Mart, Target and other stores comparing prices and just enjoying the shopping process. The gifts are purchased with gift cards donated from the stores.

"As I contacted the stores in Lawrence they said, 'Do you know how many of these we get a day?'" Folks said, adding that the stores get between 10 and 15 requests for donations.

At the same time, Folks said, finding a family for the program can be tough. After asking Eudora churches with no luck, the Jaycees started asking the school district with help finding a family.

"I understand people not wanting to come forward," she said.

To make a cash or non-perishable food donation before Wednesday, Dec. 19, call Folks at 542-1159. She said she'd even be happy to pick up donations. After all, it's a worthwhile project, Folks said.

"If we did nothing else all year and did this, that's fine with me," she said.

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