Chancy J. Gatlin-Anderson
Special to Colorado Community Media
As the holiday season ramps up, the Elbert County community comes together to provide food for those families in need. From food banks to drives organized by local organizations, Elbert County citizens make sure that no one needs to go hungry this holiday season.
As is common in Elbert County, local organizations are stepping up to provide for families in need this year. Both the Elbert County Coalition for Outreach (ECCO) and the Dads of Elbert County are holding drives and programs and taking donations for families and children in need.
ECCO is holding their yearly Christmas for Kids program, designed to provide toys for children and families. ECCO will place several Christmas trees covered with tags around the county. Each tag will have a desired toy for an anonymous child written on it. Community members can then remove the tags and buy the toy for the child. On Dec. 17, the toys are distributed to the kids during an event in Kiowa.
“Our community is amazing. I can’t even tell you how many toys we get every year,” said Erica Johnson, director of ECCO and organizer for the Christmas for Kids program. “We try to help where human services can’t.”
ECCO is also partnering with Coats for Kids in Kiowa, a program to provide gently used coats and other outwear (hats, gloves, boots, etc.) for students in need.
This year, the Dads of Elbert County (DoEC) group is helping provide food items for several families to create a complete Thanksgiving dinner. Their goal is to provide meals for 20 families. The meal includes a 14-pound turkey, stuffing, green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, turkey gravy, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. The DoEC will also be helping a few families in need for Christmas.
“The holidays can be a rough time for a lot of people. Some find it difficult to express how difficult it can be,” said Clint Decker, president of the DoEC nonprofit organization. “If there is any way that our group can help ease the burden during this time, we would love it. Sometimes it just takes one simple gesture to completely change the feel of moving forward.”
In addition to the nonprofit organizations working to help the families of Elbert County, several food banks are available:
1. Elizabeth Presbyterian Church
381 S. Banner St.
Hours of operation:
Fridays, 12:30-3 p.m.
Saturdays, 9-11:30 a.m.
2. Harvest Bible Church
826 S. Elbert St.
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 9-11 a.m.
1. Kiowa Creek Community Church/Kiowa Creek Food Bank
231 Cheyenne St.
Hours of operation:
Mondays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Tuesdays, 3-6 p.m.
Second Friday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
1. Simla Family Thrift Store
303 Caribou St.
Lastly, much like the Little Free Libraries throughout the country, there is a small food donation box located at the corner of Main Street and Broadway in downtown Elizabeth. As a part of the Colorado Blessing Box Project, people can anonymously leave non-perishable foods and others can take what they need.
Christmas for Kids applications are now being accepted. They must be returned to ECCO by 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 9. For questions about the application process, please contact Director Erica Johnson at 303-621-2599. Christmas trees can be found at ECCO in Kiowa, the Elizabeth Fire Station and Elbert County Sheriff’s Office. For more information on ECCO, visit eccoinkiowa.com
To request assistance from the Dads of Elbert County, please contact them through their website or find a local DoEC member for more information. The website is dadsofelbertcounty.com
. They are still in need of food donations and looking for families to assist. Donations can be left at Bernie’s Restaurant in Elizabeth through Nov. 22.