What a year! 2020 was difficult in many ways and the Share the Spirit Holiday Program did not escape the turmoil. Our dedicated volunteers recognized this last summer and started reimagining the Christmas Food and Gift Baskets. Through that forethought and the continued commitment of this community, we gratefully have had another successful year.
As you know, the local schools closed to in-person education. This presented us with our first challenge, as we had always operated out of the local high school, but now, even with a mitigation plan, we were unable to use the facility as we had for the last 27 years. We send our special thanks to the school district staff that worked with us as well as the facilities that offered to house us and ultimately the Christian Community Church for allowing us the use of their building.
We abbreviated the schedule, moved things around and finally came up with a plan. Others that made this possible were the local U-Haul dealer and Top Shelf Storage, as well as our long time “Gift Tree” locations: Ulmer’s Drug & Hardware, Homer’s Jeans, Kachemak Gear Shed, The Homer Bookstore and Capt.’s Toy Chest. We must also send a special thanks to the crew at Wells Fargo Bank. Even with their lobby closed due to pandemic precautions, they managed to safely house the bounty of gifts from the community and accept applications for hundreds of households in our community. We would like to thank the Homer Police Department for their approval of our traffic plan and to the kind neighbors of the church for their understanding during this one-day event.
Finally, yet importantly, we need to thank the amazing volunteers. As we mentioned previously, this year was different. Due to the space, we limited the number of volunteers on basket day, and we were so thankful for those that answered our call as well as all of you that offered, but were turned away. Please remember that was a one-time thing and hopefully we will be able to return to the high school for a more joyful and fun-filled basket-packing day next year.
Which brings us to you. Our thanks go out to everyone who contributed to our successful 2020 Holiday Program. You are the reason we have been able to continue this program for 28 years. Whether a monetary donation, a donation in kind or a donation of time, your generosity makes it possible for this organization to continue to provide for households in our area. This year, as we anticipated, the need would increase, and with your help, the community provided Christmas Baskets to 362 households, including 42 veterans households, 498 children, 1,065 individuals, and a number of households with disabled individuals and senior citizens.
Now as we begin a new year, we ask that you remember to donate money, food and time to any or all of the agencies in our community that do similar work year round. Some of these are the Homer Community Food Pantry, Anchor Point Food Pantry, Flex School Food Closet and the Salvation Army Commodities Program. Please call them and ask how you can help.
Again, we thank you all and have crossed our fingers that by next year we will be back to a normal holiday season and can re-instate the Spaghetti Feed, Adopt-A-Family program, the wrapping crew, school-wide food drive and many more things that were missing from the program this year.
And of course, we ask that you please, always remember to … Share the Spirit.
Jayne Locklar is President of Share the Spirit, Jonathan Adams is Vice President, Kelly Glidden and Shari Daugherty are the Co-Chairs of the Basket Program, and Emmy Olsen-Drye is the Volunteer Coordinator.