Len Wood, Staff
The 15th annual Santa Ynez Valley Christmas Basket Program will support 156 local needy families. Each receives a large hamper of food, staples and toiletries plus a decorated box filled with wrapped presents for each family member, a gift card for a local grocery store and fresh chickens donated by El Rancho Market plus toys donated from the Alexander family’s annual Christmas display.
The program is organized by volunteers from Old Mission Santa Ines, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, St. Mark’s-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church and Santa Ynez Valley Presbyterian Church with support from hundreds of individuals and over 30 local businesses, churches and organizations.
"We reach out to the community and ask them to help us convey the giving spirit of the season,” Christmas Basket Program director Genevieve Geyser said. “We want all local families to experience the magic of Christmas and this program provides a hand-up to struggling families.”
Christmas Basket recipients must be residents of Ballard, Buellton, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez, or Solvang. The program is open to families with minor children who are struggling financially and are unable to provide for their families at Christmas.
Applications were reviewed by the volunteer committee. One family receiving a basket includes parents who are each working two jobs in Solvang, have three children (one with autism) and are challenged every day to provide the essentials.
The 2015 Christmas Basket Program is still in need of donations to cover the cost of the food in the hampers. For more information about contributing contact program director Genevieve Geyser at 688-2106 or email@example.com