Miranda Wilbur prepares gifts for delivery at a wrapping party last year as part of the Christmas Basket program. (File)

By JASON COX
Of the Keizertimes

An annual program providing food for hungry families – and gifts for children who may not otherwise get one – is again gearing up for the holiday season.

With the community’s help, the project aims to provide 125 families with a holiday meal, and toys under the tree for dozens of area children.

It’s a project headed up by the Keizer Network of Women (KNOW), a group organized by the Keizer Chamber of Commerce. Donations are tax-deductible thanks to the Keizer Chamber Foundation, a non-profit.

“It’s our goal to get bigger and better,” said Audrey Butler, who founded KNOW. “We’re just finding more and more support each year. There’s just so many kids!”

It works like this: Guidance counselors in area schools are asked to provide the names and needs of children whose families could use a little holiday cheer. The KNOW group aims to fulfill a need and a want on the kids’ list – at least one article of clothing and something fun to open.

“We channel our energy and it gets done,” Butler said.

There’s already been one miracle, she said.

“There was one child who asked that his family computer be fixed so he could do his homework on the computer like other kids do,” Butler said. “I put a call out to Chris Howery of CompuTutor. He’s going to make arrangements to fix that computer this week.”

The public can help in one of several ways:

• Adopt A Family – Donor gets a wish list for the children in a family. The group asks you spend about $50 per child, to include one toy and one article of clothing. Businesses in particular are asked to adopt a family.

• Select an ornament from the Trees of Giving – The trees will go up at several locations here in just a couple of weeks. Names and lists of children not yet “adopted” go here. The trees will be at Courthouse Athletic Club, St. Edward Catholic Church, McNary Golf Course, the north Salem Applebee’s and U.S. Bank’s Keizer branch.

• Make a contribution to cover costs of providing food and other expenses. These can be made at the Keizer Chamber of Commerce office in the Keizer Heritage Center. Please specify the donation is for the Gift Basket Program.

• Volunteer time to help with purchasing, sorting, wrapping and delivery of gifts.

If you have questions or wish to help, please call Butler at 503-393-6347.