The generosity of the community was received with a look of relief by many of the people who came to pick up their Christmas gifts and fixings for a holiday meal on Tuesday at Our Shepherd Lutheran Church.
By the end of the week, about 150 individuals and families in need of assistance may have a more enjoyable Christmas, thanks to Serving People Across Neighborhoods (SPAN).
Close to 20 volunteers helped organize and distribute the holiday packages to the recipients, including single mom Jamie Perry who now has presents for her 3-year-old son Evan.
"This [SPAN] makes Christmas possible. It is amazing and gives me incentive to feel better," said Perry, whose mother died last year.
The network of sponsors doubled this year to record numbers, said Kathy Laukhart, associate director of SPAN.
"The community has really stepped it up and are 'walking the walk," Laukhart said.
Individuals, businesses, organizations, churches, schools and scouts all donated to SPAN throughout the year. Last year SPAN provided for 139 families, this year 136 had already been signed up for assistance and Laukhart said by the end of the week that number will grow to close to 150.
Donations also are still being accepted.