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Volunteers find joy in assembling Christmas baskets on Friday, Dec. 20, at St. Michael's

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - City Councilor and firefighter Laurie Smallwood searches for toys to complete a gift bag for a local family on Friday, Dec. 20. Christmas is upon us and in true Sandy tradition, the Sandy Kiwanians and a hearty crew of volunteers were up bright and early on Friday, Dec. 20, at St. Michael's Catholic Church, to compile gifts for the less fortunate.

For 69 years, the Sandy Kiwanis Club has hosted the Christmas Basket Program, collecting and delivering food and presents to about 300 families every December.

Shannon Montgomery and her husband Martin, long-time Kiwanians, have co-chaired the endeavor for five years and find joy in giving back every Christmas, though the process requires quite a bit of work.

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Country Financials Cole Pritchard and his daughter Olivia participate in the Kiwanis Club Christmas Basket Program to compile gifts at St. Michaels Catholic Church. "I think the Kiwanis are helping people who often won't ask for help," Shannon said. "With this program, people can ask for what they need and we're able to fulfill a lot of those needs."

Every family in the program receives a box of food and home supplies, as well as age-appropriate gifts for the children in the household.

The Sandy Fire Department, with a great deal of help from Nannette Howland, takes applications from families in need starting well before Christmas and coordinates where the baskets will go.

"We are community servants and this serves the community," Division Chief Scott Howland said, explaining why the department gets so involved in the seasonal effort. "I think it's important to give back to the community and be involved, and I think it's good when the community comes together to help the less fortunate."

PMG PHOTO: BRITTANY ALLEN - Sandy Fire Chief Phil Schneider, Sandy Chamber Board Vice President Lisa Foster and Sandys Helping Hands Founder Machel Heldstab were among the many volunteers who took time out of their morning Friday to help with the Kiwanis Clubs Christmas Basket Program.For several years, the Sandy Area Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Kiwanis Club to promote the event among businesses and also assemble the gift bags the day before delivery.

"I'm always overwhelmed at how organized and put together the Kiwanis have this program and the outpouring of donations from the community," Chamber Executive Director Khrys Jones said. "I know all of our members look forward to this program every year."

Baskets were delivered by volunteers with help from the Sandy Fire Department and Highway 26 Cruisers on Saturday, Dec. 21.


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