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Gifts Make a Touching ImpactJanuary 24, 2022
Holiday lights have mostly faded, but the impact of holiday giving shines on. In December several community groups and people, moved by their generous hearts and “can-do” spirits, organized holiday fundraising, gift card and gift donation drives. These efforts made a positive impact on the 200+ gift recipients: people served by DDRC, their families and their caregivers, whose need was identified by DDRC staff. Gift items and many gift cards to King Soopers, Walmart and Target were distributed, bringing smiles of appreciation and touching recipients in meaningful ways.
A person served by DDRC, and their sibling received donated gift cards. This is the only thing they receive during the holidays and the entire year. They have no other family support and were very happy for the kindness of strangers. They were struggling prior to DDRC’s A Better Choice’s involvement with them, and DDRC staff took them shopping so they could purchase something for the holidays.
The family of a young man with developmental disabilities had been in dire straits due to the mother having MS and having difficulty covering health care costs. The gift cards were used to purchase items of necessity. This mom cried with gratitude when she was told they would receive the gift cards.
Another family with an adult child with disabilities living at home also has other family members at home with severe health problems. The Target card allowed them to get some things they could not afford before the holidays, and they were delighted. Another person served by DDRC who is often financially strapped, was so thankful and relieved to receive a gift card and he even purchased items for his dog, a very selfless act on his behalf.
All this came through the efforts of many volunteers and donors. The Holiday Open House Drive-By event, organized by DDRC Board member Mary Ann Tillman along with Becky Shreck, and fellow volunteers Jill Polito, Amanda DiVito Parle, and Layne Mielke, generated over $11,000 including online donations, cash, and checks, in addition to the gift card contributions.
The Masons, a fraternal order, also collected money for gift cards, through the dedicated efforts of Mason Grant Sanders, raising $3,825 in donations from the Marquis de Lafayette Lodge #41, the Paul Revere Lodge #130, and other individuals associated with the Masons, including Lincoln and Sherry Soul and Dee O’Kelly.
But that’s not all! DDF Board member Paula Emeson facilitated a $250 donation from the Arvada-Jefferson Kiwanis Club. Volunteer Lynn Fiederowitcz also hosted a gift drive, and her friends and guests donated gift cards, along with movies, board games, and puzzles to provide indoor entertainment. Volunteer Ruth Probasco donated “care bags,” of clothing, activity books and more.
DDRC staff from Resource Coordination (RC), Early Intervention (EI), Children and Family Services (CFS), A Better Choice (ABC) and Quality Living Options (QLO) identified people in need and served as "Santa's Helpers" to make sure gift cards and items were distributed, particularly DDRC staff Christina Smith (CFS/El); Anna Allen (RC); Bruce Fritz (ABC); Julie Wenning (QLO) and Jennifer Dawson (Main Office Receptionist). And importantly, DDRC’s Volunteer Services Coordinator April Richey was instrumental in coordinating all these efforts with DDRC staff and volunteers.
A huge thank you to all these volunteers and contributors, and hat’s off to all the staff who went the extra mile!