Rotary Club of Big Sky’s annual holiday program collects hundreds of donations
By Gabrielle Gasser EBS STAFF
BIG SKY – The giving spirit is alive and well this year in Big Sky. The Giving Tree, a charitable opportunity sponsored by the Rotary Club of Big Sky, connected families with generous donors from throughout the community who provided gifts for dozens of local kids.
The Giving Tree is an annual program that helps families during Christmas by generating donations of gifts for the children and a Christmas dinner for a family in need. The Rotary Club of Big Sky, with the help of the Big Sky community, sponsored the Christmas Giving Tree with a few slight changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To participate, families picked up a Santa Letter from First Security Bank, American Bank, Big Sky Food Bank or The Country Market. After Dec. 1, when all the letters were due, angels were created that had specific requests from the letters on them. The Giving Tree was put up in the Big Sky Post Office Lobby a little earlier this year, during the week before Thanksgiving, to accommodate tighter deadlines. The angels were then hung on the tree throughout December for community members to pick up and purchase the requested gifts.
This year, just under 200 gifts were donated for the 45 kids from 27 families in the community. Each family will receive their requested gifts as well as any extra gifts donated, a stocking and each family will receive a box of food donated by Roxy’s Market.
According to Mia Lennon, the coordinator of the program, they also received many cash donations from community members which were then used to buy extra items such as warm clothes to fulfill any outstanding needs of the children.
Lennon works with a small team of volunteers to help her run the Giving Tree program.
“Now we have a committee that can help me see the vision through,” said Lennon. “I have three or four super awesome ladies that have been helping me, which has just made it so smooth.”
The food donations will be picked up on Wednesday, Dec. 23, and distributed along with the gifts. Each family will receive a big Tupperware tub full of food; a gift card to help buy more food; a cookie-decorating kit including pre-baked cookies from Sweet Buns Bakery, a new addition this year; presents for the children; Christmas stockings; and finally, wrapping paper to wrap the gifts since the volunteers will not be wrapping them this year as part of their COVID-19 precautions.
“We do want to really thank everybody that donated and bought gifts,” Lennon said. “We couldn’t have done it without so much support it’s really incredible. It’s just really fun and I’m excited too for little elves to see the kids’ faces when we drop off the gifts on Wednesday.”