Holiday baskets

Each year, Realtors gather to stuff hundreds of holiday baskets.

The Sun Valley Realtors Give Foundation’s annual Holiday Basket program had an outsized impact on the community for the second year in a row as Blaine County residents continue to deal with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Two thousand five hundred people, up from 2,000 last year, received more than $70,000 in donations of food, gift cards and toys. The program, which has been running since 2003, assisted around half as many people pre-pandemic.

Brandee Smith, executive director of Sun Valley Realtors Give, said that the drive is more important now than ever.

“I think that we’re all hoping that we’ll get back to doing things like we did pre-COVID,” she said. “What we focus on is just making sure that local families get the help that they need at the holidays.”

Help changed form because of the pandemic, with masks covering smiles and grocery gift cards replacing hot meals. However, the holiday spirit remained. Volunteers greeted recipients warmly as they picked up their baskets on Saturday, Dec. 11, while the first snowflakes of the season fell.

The primary distribution date may have come and gone, but it is not too late to donate.

“Because it’s a Christmas program, we try to get things to the families early so that they have time, especially with the gift cards, to purchase items for their family,” Smith said. “We’re still receiving donations, and we usually do through Christmas.”

At this point, the organization is asking for monetary donations only. Anyone who would like to donate is encouraged to go to https://svrealtorsgive.org/, or mail a check to the organization. Families interested in receiving donations are encouraged to reach out to any social service worker or organization and ask them to get in touch with Sun Valley Realtors Give. 

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