Mission volunteers make the holiday brighter for 38 families

Volunteer Theresa Blizman sorts presents on tables for individual families at the Sylvester Powell Community Center.
Volunteer Theresa Blizman sorts presents on tables for individual families at the Sylvester Powell Community Center.

Thirty-eight families will have a brighter holiday starting today because Mission and surrounding residents once again opened hearts and wallets to make the families’ wishes come true.

Approximately 50 volunteers were busy this morning at the Sylvester Powell Community Center wrapping and sorting presents and packing boxes of food for the families, who primarily live in Mission. Tables were piled with gifts separated by family.

Mission councilor Suzie Gibbs who chairs the holiday gift drive was the center of attention Friday morning.
Mission councilor Suzie Gibbs who chairs the holiday gift drive was the center of attention Friday morning.

Names of families who can use a boost at the holiday are gathered from Santa Fe, Rushton and SM North schools. Their Christmas wishes are hung on trees in places like the community center so donors can take the tags and buy gifts. The program is run by the Mission Convention and Visitors Bureau (MCVB).

“The whole city of Misson just pulls together,” said MCVB chair Suzie Gibbs, a Mission city councilor who organizes the project. “We don’t turn anyone down,” Gibbs said. If someone calls and asks to be put on the list, they get served. As the list of those in need grows, so has the response, which Gibbs described as “phenomenal.”

In about its sixth year, the program has grown from providing presents for just seven families. Each family member gets gifts specifically for them. Every family receives a food box as well with a ham, everything for a holiday meal and more. Cash donations are used to buy food or fill out the presents.

Tables were filled with canned goods waiting to be packaged.
Tables were filled with canned goods waiting to be packaged.

After the sorting, wrapping and packing today, some families will pick up their gifts and food at the community center, some at school, and Mission police will deliver some to the door, depending on how the family wishes to receive it.

The project also collected more than 2,000 pairs of socks that are being distributed through the Uplift Organization to the homeless in the metro. More than 1,200 pairs were donated by the Men for Ministry group at St. Michael’s church in Mission.

More than $1,000 of the $4,000 in cash donations came from Trinity Anglican Parish in Prairie Village.

Mary Lohman wraps presents for families Friday morning.
Mary Lohman wraps presents for families Friday morning.