The impact of Christmas in Berthoud
By May Soricelli
Christmas is an especially charming holiday for Berthoud families, particularly for those who find themselves receiving loving support and generous gifts during a time of financial struggle in their lives. The impact has been equally powerful for those involved in bringing that hope and joy to those families. Christmas in Berthoud is not just another holiday event, but instead a community of diverse people and businesses coming together to celebrate Christmas for a good cause. All of this is accomplished through a variety of Christmas activities that are enjoyable for Berthoud residents of all ages.
Christmas in Berthoud is a charitable fundraiser originally organized by Grace Place Church in which 100 percent of funds raised are distributed to families in need in the Berthoud area for the Christmas holiday. The event is held throughout the first week of December and involves a community-wide effort to raise money and supplies to provide struggling families with generous Christmas gifts, groceries and financial support. “Many people in our town struggle with joblessness or a reduced income and are on the verge of losing their homes, businesses, or even the hope to face another day,” according to the organization’s website www.christmasinberthoud.org.
This year C.I.B. hopes to reach or exceed $15,000 in donations in order to assist as many families as possible. Every selected family will receive a $50 gift card per child, get to select gifts for their child at a gathering at Grace Place, and the child’s name will be placed on a giving tree. Care packages of gifts, necessities and food are also sent to Berthoud military families. Grace Place will use donated items to create stockings and food baskets to present to the selected families.
“My hope is to have so much generosity that there is leftover,” said Kim Land, Grace Place’s Outreach pastor, and Christmas in Berthoud coordinator.
History of the Event
In 2004 C.I.B. started as the Festival of Trees fundraiser, then in 2008 was opened to the community. The organization’s goal was to not have to send needy families to other places outside the community, but instead to be able to help Berthoud families with resources right here in Berthoud during the holidays. Local churches, groups, clubs and businesses have rallied and increased involvement in C.I.B. events each year to support the children and their families who need a special Christmas provision.
It’s important to the organization to contact every person of need in Berthoud and use every resource available to locate which families are of most need and deserving of gifts for that year. Over the years, C.I.B. recipients have been nominated by referrals from Berthoud schools, churches, police and fire departments, and through word of mouth. These referrals are typically single-parent families, low income, are facing financial hardships, or are experiencing serious medical issues. According to the website, “Our goal is to ensure that everyone in Berthoud has the opportunity to celebrate a joyful holiday season.”
New this year
Passport to Christmas is just one of the fun activities children and their families can participate in during the C.I.B. event this year. The Berthoud Weekly Surveyor will be printing a “Passport to Christmas” in the publication prior to the C.I.B. events that children can cut out and take to participating businesses to be stamped during the week of Nov. 30 to Dec. 6. Once full, the passports can be taken to be entered into a drawing at L&M Garden Center on Dec. 6 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The 30 participating businesses are listed on the C.I.B. website and most will have the Christmas in Berthoud dove displayed in their window to show they are a participant.
Another new activity for the community to get involved in is a coin drive that Berthoud students will conduct at their schools. Ivy Stockwell, Berthoud Elementary and Turner Middle schools are all included in this fundraiser. Students are encouraged to bring coins to their school to compete for most collected coins and a chance to win a root beer float party for their school provided by Grace Place. Winners will be announced at L&M on Dec. 6. Check the Surveyor each week for coin tallies from the schools.
Places to contribute
Many Businesses are involved in the support of C.I.B. and are actively providing platforms for donations from the community from now until Dec. 8.
Hays Market has played a major role in supporting C.I.B this year and in previous years and is a great place for residents to make various donations. They will have a Giving Tree up after Thanksgiving, which provides people the opportunity to select a family to purchase gifts for. They will also have a Giving Table where goods can be purchased and donated at checkout and 10 percent of the purchase will be given to C.I.B. Other items such as coats, hats and gloves can also be donated.
The Berthoud Library will also host a Giving Tree with families up for selection. They are offering a Food for Fines donation where any accrued fines can be paid off by donating non-perishable food throughout the month of December. Donations for coats and cold weather garments will also be taken.
Main Street Car Care and the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor will take donations of coats and non-perishable food items.
Grace Place is taking non-perishable food donations as well.
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