The Sun Valley Realtors Give Foundation’s annual holiday charity program, Holiday Baskets, provided meals for 2,000 people in Blaine County, as well as gifts for more than 1,000 children, doubling the amount of program recipients from 2019, the organization reported last week.

The foundation raised $103,000 for the program, more than three times its annual average, the organization stated in a news release.

“Almost all the Holiday Baskets recipients stated that COVID impacted their ability to financially provide for their families,” the organization stated. “Living in an area heavily supported by tourism, many Wood River Valley residents working in the hospitality, service and entertainment industries lost their jobs due to the pandemic.”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the foundation to cancel its public-facing fundraising events, but the organization instead focused on grassroots donor outreach.

“We are grateful for the overwhelming response of support from our community, especially now,” said Brandee Smith, executive director of Sun Valley Realtors Give. “It’s been heartbreaking seeing so many in our valley suffer and lose their jobs and livelihoods. Holiday Baskets provided some relief to every single applicant, proving that our valley truly looks out for its neighbors.”

Founded in 2004, the Sun Valley Realtors Give Foundation seeks to provide programs to improve quality of life in the Wood River Valley. It focuses on community cooperation, outreach and programs for housing assistance for U.S. veterans, food for low-income families during the holidays and scholarships for students.

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