An 18-foot trailer full of food and other items was parked outside of Marion City Building Monday, signaling the approach of Marion Community Christmas.
“We loaded the truck this morning,” Greg Carlson of Carlsons’ Grocery said. “The food was special ordered.”
Carlson said his wife, Linda, worked with Chamber of Commerce secretary Margo Yates to get the best deals from their product suppliers.
“I don’t know who all deserves a pat on the back, but Margo is the ringleader,” Greg Carlson said. “It’s just a good time of year to be generous.”
Yates said much of the supplies for Community Christmas were acquired locally.
“We bought a lot of the food and other stuff from Carlsons’ Grocery, Lanning Pharmacy, and HRK,” Yates said. “They all give us really big discounts.
“We help about 50 families. About 30 families will get gifts in addition to food boxes. Another 20 families just get food boxes.”
Each food box will include several hundred dollars of food, Yates said. Boxes include a Christmas ham as well as ingredients for whole meals like chili, pancake, and spaghetti dinners, she said. Toiletries and personal care items also are included.
Marion resident Gene Winkler acquired 100 turkeys from the Kansas Food Bank that also will be given to families, Yates said.
“If kids ask just for clothes we give them the clothes and gifts, too,” Yates said. “Socks just aren’t that fun, but socks and a toy truck is fun. That’s just the way we roll.”
Yates said every child would receive a blanket, books, socks, hats, and gloves in addition to any gift they requested. Some elders will receive blankets, too.
Yates and about 10 volunteers organized food and other donations into Community Christmas care packages.
“We have some shy elves,” Yates said, “but it takes a whole community to do this.”
Marion County Toy Run donated “12 bicycles, three trash bags full of toys, and a very generous cash donation of almost $3,000” Yates said, while all the churches in Marion had bake sales to raise money for cash donations. She said each church also made blanket and toiletry donations.
Families in USD 408 and USD 397 will receive items from Marion Community Christmas on Thursday, Yates said.