Vaughn-Trent seeking bounty for baskets
As families sit down to eat their Thanksgiving dinners this week, officials with Vaughn-Trent Community Services hope they remember those who do not have such luxuries during the holidays.
Vaughn-Trent has begun collecting nonperishable food items for its annual Christmas Baskets program, providing a holiday meal for about 250 families in need in the Bonner Springs and Edwardsville communities. Collection bins are located at the Thriftway, Bonner Springs Price Chopper and the Dollar General in both Bonner and Edwardsville.
Carol Geary, director of Vaughn-Trent, said all signs show that the need is only growing. For example, 10 years ago, when the economy was affecting many families, the organization helped 50 people with utility assistance during the month of October. This year, it has given utility assistance to about 200 in October.
There is also great evidence of the need for assistance with food. By 4 p.m. Monday, more than 60 people had come in to Vaughn-Trent for bread.
“I think that’s a record; I don’t remember ever having that many,” Geary said. “But we’ve also had some nice food donations today, so thankfully that balances it out a little.”
Vaughn-Trent has 75 to 80 families already signed up for the Christmas food baskets this year.
The food baskets were the idea of former Bonner mayor Marion Vaughn, who wanted to help families in need with a Christmas meal. In 1968, school children in USD 204 started to help by collecting nonperishable, canned goods.
The baskets are available for those who reside in the USD 204 district and who meet the income guidelines.
Jeannine Gallagher, who leads the organization of the baskets for Vaughn-Trent, said the new Dollar General in Edwardsville helped bring in more food collections last year, and it looks like food donations at the store will be helpful again this year.
“Yesterday I had to pick up the tub; it was full already,” she said.
But donations like that need to continue through the next couple of weeks, at the grocery store collection tubs, in schools and at the Vaughn-Trent Community Services Christmas Parade and Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting. During the event, going on at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 5 in downtown Bonner, those in the parade and all who attend are encouraged to bring dry or canned goods.
The baskets will be assembled Dec. 12-14, and families will pick up the baskets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 15.