Someone Needs Our Warmth (S.N.O.W.) was formed in 1992.
“Our whole aim was to make sure that every kid in Refugio County had a good Christmas,” said Pat Blackwell, co-chair. “I don’t know that we’ve succeeded but we’ve sure given it our best shot.”
Blackwell and her daughter, Kim Arcand, have gather gifts, food baskets and donations so that as many families as possible receive a little Christmas cheer each year. Their most successful process to date has been the SNOWflake tree.
The SNOWflake tree contains information for each child the organization sponsors. Individuals or groups can choose a child and bring gifts for their child.
Each SNOWflake is either pink (for girls) or blue (for boys) and discloses the child’s age, clothing sizes and a gift off their “wish list.”
The tree is placed at the Dennis O’Connor Public Library and the public is urged to visit, choose a child and spread some Christmas cheer to their neighbors.
The guidelines are pretty straightforward. First, the gift or gifts should be valued between $30 and $50. It should be unwrapped, age appropriate and in good taste.
If someone wishes to sponsor a child but has no spare time to shop, a donation can be made and the “elves” will gladly shop for the child.
The gifts must be returned to the library, accompanied by the SNOWflake, no later than Dec. 2, to allow S.N.O.W organizers adequate time to shop for children without sponsors.
“We have so many generous people in Refugio County,” said Kim. “Every year I start to stress around Thanksgiving and ever year I’m amazed at the outpouring of Christmas spirit. We always seem to make it. Even with food baskets.”
The family of each child on the SNOWflake tree also receives a food basket. The contents of the basket vary from year to year, based on the success of donation efforts.
Certain items including turkeys, rice, flour, bread, sugar and pinto beans are always included. The “extra’s” are added when possible.
“We like to include cookies, paper towels, dish soap, fresh fruit and tea if we can. It just depends on how much we have to spend,” Pat said.
Individuals or groups can also donate towards the purchase of a family food basket. The cost of an average food basket is $40-$50 depending on the size of the family.
The women do have one suggestion they’d like to share with potential sponsors: maximize their donation.
“We have some individuals who will very generous spend $100 which could provide gifts for two or more children,” Kim said. “This would enable us to provide more items in a food basket and eliminate un-sponsored SNOWflakes on the tree. Times are tough right now for all of us. Maybe it sounds harsh, but I’d rather see less money spent per child so that more children could have a Merry Christmas.”
Everyone is urged to visit the SNOWflake tree between now and Dec. 2.
For more information, individuals or groups may contact Pat at 220-0409, Kim at 646-9052 or the Dennis O’Connor Public Library at 526-2608.