Share the Spirit up against a tight deadline to provide gifts for local children

Dec 18, 2018

Several ornaments listing gifts for children in need hang on a Share the Spirit gift tree at Ulmer's Drug and Hardware.
Credit Aaron Bolton, KBBI News

Share the Spirit, a local nonprofit that provides Christmas meals for families and gifts for children in need, is up against a tight deadline. The group needs gifts for roughly 200 children by Thursday.  In the interest of full disclosure, KBBI would like to note that Share the Spirit is one of KBBI’s underwriters.

 

Shari Daugherty works for the nonprofit, and she said the number of children the organization is serving this year has grown. With just a couple of days to go, there are a number of ornaments left on its gift trees at retailers all over town.

 

“Each little paper ornament on those trees represents the wish, whether it’s a needed item or wanted item, for a needy child in our communities,” Daugherty explained.

 

Residents can pick an ornament off a tree, purchase the items listed on each tree ornament and wrap them. They can then tape the ornament to the package and place it under a gift tree.

 

“Sometime later in the day, the elves come and move them around,” Daugherty added.

 

She said the organization’s food baskets will feed nearly 1,000 people this year. Over 400 of those people are children whom the organization hopes will receive gifts through the gift tree program, an increase compared to last year.

 

Daugherty attributes the growth to the state of the economy, but she adds that the families the program is providing for this year are simply larger.  Last year, the average number of children per family was two.

 

“This year, the average jumped up to like 3 children per family,” she said.

 

However, Daugherty said that number is likely larger in reality.

 

“That’s skewed also by the number of singles baskets we’re packing for adult singles, whether they’re senior citizens or just homeless folks or people who just needed help,” she noted. “That number nearly doubled.”

 

Daugherty said if residents are interested in providing gifts for children, but don’t actually have time to shop for those gifts, they can also donate to the Share the Spirit account at Wells Fargo in Homer.

 

“Come Thursday afternoon, any of those ornaments that aren’t bought yet, we will have to go buy them,” she said. “So, we need all the donations we can get to go take care of that.”

 

Share the Spirit also needs help packing food baskets for families Friday. The organization is asking those interested in helping to arrive at Homer High School between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. For more information, you can call 235-7466. Gift trees can be found at Kachemak Gear Shed, the Homer Bookstore, Wells Fargo, USA Federal Credit Union, Captain’s Toy Chest and Ulmers Drug and Hardware.