WHEATLAND– Kris Born, co-owner of Cheyenne Coffee Company here in Wheatland resembles Kris Kringle, not only in name but in spirit.
Kris and helpers from the Wheatland Moose Lodge have been the hands behind the blessings.
“This is my third year of making Christmas gift baskets for every single person who receives Meals on Wheels in Wheatland,” Born said. “I started organizing this project through the Wheatland Moose Lodge #1636, Chapter 990. Seniors have always shared a big piece of my heart and I wanted to do something for them.”
Born has always thought that she never saw enough Christmas fundraising or gift trees for the seniors and so she began to come up with ideas.
“Through the generosity of our local Moose lodge we were able to start the project that I have dreamed of for a long time,” she said. “I went to Services For Seniors and told them about my idea. They loved it and we decided that they would distribute the gift bags when they made meal deliveries. We were off and running.”
In about September Born puts a container with a want list at the Moose Lodge. Moose members start donating money and items from that wish list.
“Our members have been so generous with items and money,” Born said. “I could never do this without their help. In addition, some local people have heard about this and have donated cash for needed items. Some businesses were also very kind and donated items. I am sending a copy of the letter that I enclosed in each gift bag.”
About a week before Christmas every detail is in high gear. Born’s army of volunteers organizes and takes a count of what items have been collected. Then it’s off to the store with a friend to buy Christmas gift bags and items that the group is short on. The next week ladies from the lodge spend the whole day at the Born residence putting the gift bags together. When they are done everything is packed up and taken to Services for Seniors.
“I can’t even begin to tell you the joy it brings to my heart to be able to do this,” Born said. “Moose lodge members and members of our community make this all possible and I am so grateful. Carolyn and Patti at SFS tell us the people that receive these bags are so excited. Of course, for privacy, we do not know their names. We are just glad to hear how happy this makes people to feel remembered at Christmas.”
The need this year is greater than it has been in the past. The group made 48 bags for single people and 13 bags for couples. That is 74 of each item donated because couples bags contain 2 of everything.
The bags are similar, but they are not gender-specific, because of the time it would take to sort them.
“I like to stick to my list for donations because we buy one size bag for singles and another larger bag for couples,” she said. “We just don’t have much extra space for other items not on the list.”
Some of the items that go into each bag are, large print word search books and a wide tip highlighter, a
large box of Kleenex and a small pocket size box of Kleenex, small spiral notebook, envelopes and stamps, notecards, a pen, Chapstick, sanitizer, lens wipes, lens cleaner kits, alcohol wipes, lotion and a few other personal type items.
“AND why not an old-time favorite?” Born asks. “Every person gets their very own box of chocolate-covered cherries.”