Loomis Basin Christmas Basket program needs donations, volunteers

By: Leah Rosasco Loomis News Correspondent
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A local program that helps the needy delivers joy to both those who give and receive. The Loomis Basin Christmas Basket Program has provided food, clothes, books and toys to local families in need during the Christmas season. And now donations are being collected to help what could be the program’s busiest year. The Christmas Basket program, sponsored by Gary Doupnik Manufacturing, served more than 400 families from Loomis, Rocklin, Newcastle, Ophir and Penryn last year, said Sherrie Edgar, company president. She said more than 900 people received food and 600 children received gifts. The program was started 10 years ago. Each year the number of families served has increased by five to ten percent, Edgar said, and this year will likely be no different – given the number of families feeling the pinch of tough economic times. “So far we’ve been very fortunate that we have not had to turn anyone away,” Edgar said. According to Edgar, the items collected from the community during the Kids Can food drive, sponsored by the Loomis Union School District, provide the main staples that go into the Christmas Baskets, but the support from the community does not end there. Each year the Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce hosts its December mixer along with Doupnik Manufacturing and the Loomis Basin Soroptimist’s Club to benefit the Christmas Basket Program. “One year, about eight or nine years ago, we decided to dedicate December’s mixer to the Christmas Basket Program,” said Henry Schneider, former chamber president and current member. Schneider said he enjoys working the floor at the mixer, trying to drum up funds for the Christmas Basket Program, and his goal this year is to top $6,000 in cash contributions. He credits the success of the mixer to community involvement, including local restaurants that donate appetizers and the South Placer Heritage Foundation, which donates the use of the venue. “It shows how businesses in Loomis Basin come together for a good cause,” he said. Donations need to be delivered by Dec. 8. Non-perishable food items can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday at either Doupnik Manufacturing or the Chamber of Commerce. Toys should be delivered to the Loomis Fire District, Station 28, on Horseshoe Bar Road, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; however Captain Darrell Jones said donations will be accepted any time. “We certainly make exceptions for gift drop off,” Jones said. “We’ll take them whenever they bring them.” In addition to donating food and toy items, community members can also participate by volunteering to assemble Christmas Baskets, Edgar said. In years past, hundreds of volunteers from the community have come together to fill boxes with the donated items, which families in need collect the next day. According to Edgar, one of the most fulfilling aspects of the program is the amount of work the community is willing to devote to making it a success. “Without the help of the Loomis Lions Club, the American Legion John A. Stacker Post 775, local churches and business, and members of the community, the program would be able to serve as many as it does,” she said. “Seeing all the people that come forward to help with the Program is amazing,” she said. “We live in an awesome community.” Families in need can pick up an application for the program at Doupnik Manufacturing, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Loomis News and is available to all families who live in the communities of Rocklin, Loomis, Penryn, Ophir, and Newcastle. For more information, call 652-9291. LOOMIS BASIN CHRISTMAS BASKET PROGRAM What: By Dec. 8, donations of new toys, new teen gifts and new or gently used teen paperback books delivered to Loomis Fire Station; food and money to Doupnik Manufacturing Basket Assembly: 8 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 10, volunteers are needed to fill Christmas boxes Where: Gary Doupnik Manufacturing Warehouse, 3237 Rippey Rd. Information: Sherrie Edgar, 652-9291