United Way fulfills wishes

Routt County program helps less fortunate over holidays

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Christmas wishes are coming true in Routt County once again this year.

In its effort to "build a caring community," Routt County United Way is bringing toys, food and basic necessities to needy families as part of its annual Christmas Wishes program.

Families are referred to the Christmas Wishes program by local agencies and organizations such as Routt County Human Services, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, Horizons, Advocates Against Battering and Abuse, LIFT-UP and Partners in Routt County -- agencies that receive valuable fund-raising support from United Way throughout the year. This year, more than 160 families will receive Christmas Wishes donations that include everything from toys, to clothing, to food and financial assistance.

"The idea is to make sure families have a Christmas they wouldn't be able to have," said Kevin Haynes, office manager for Routt County Human Services. He said Human Services gets "very positive responses" from the program and requests for all types of donations.

United Way organizes the Christmas Wishes program with the help of volunteers who "adopt" families, purchase and wrap gifts, make donations and deliver presents throughout the community. This year's recipients will include single mothers, senior citizens who live alone, adults with developmental disabilities, at-risk teens and other families who need extra help during the holiday season.

Haynes said he and his wife adopted a family as part of the Christmas Wishes program last year.

"It was really a great feeling," he said.

The single, pregnant mother they helped "was just overwhelmed" when he and his wife delivered presents that included maternity clothes, baby blankets and snow boots for her teenage son, he said.

They were even able to include a 10-speed bicycle that had been donated to Toys for Tots at Steamboat Motors. The bike was perfect for the teenage boy, Haynes said.

To learn more about the Christmas Wishes program, call Routt County United Way at 879-5605.

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