Inside a jam-packed auditorium, the Keizer Network of Women (KNOW) held their annual holiday gift wrapping event on Dec. 6 at the Keizer Lions Club on Cherry Avenue.
With packing boxes stacked to the ceiling full of food and children’s gifts, the amount of cheer being spread by the 90 Keizer gift wrappers there was akin to that of Santa’s workshop.
Overall, the event will serve 292 families in the Keizer area this year with 1300 presents for the children in those families.
According to Corri Falardeau, who oversaw the event, the gift wrapping bonanza has been happening for more than 12 years and provides gifts and necessary supplies such as food and toiletries to families in Keizer schools as well as residents of Soaring Heights Recovery Homes, Simonka Place as well as Head Start.
“It takes a burden off of parents who need to focus on providing the necessities for their families,” said Falardeau.
“It [also] allows community members who have a little extra to be able to go the extra mile for those folks [and] spread that joy throughout the community,” continued Falardeau.
“I think that every year we need that extra love and kindness to feel good about what we’re doing in our community,” Falardeau finished.
Falardeau acknowledged the team effort that allowed the event to happen and gave special thanks to Marsha Stallings, Jill Gust, Leslie Risewick and the Keizer Lions Club for offering the space to hold the event.
Falardeau also thanked David Walery and Councilor Kyle Juran who picked up all the gifts as well as Darrell Fuller and Jonathon Thompson who helped ensure each table had gifts to wrap.
The holiday spirit was bountiful in Keizer as around 90 gift wrappers came to help with many participating for the first time.
“We found out through a neighborhood committee and we thought it sounded like fun and we like to try and to give back to the community,” said Keizer resident Rick Voltin.
Another Keizer resident, member of KNOW and owner of Pacific Poppy, a local women and children’s clothing boutique on Cherry Avenue, Jasmine Gwilliams said “We are here because a big thing for our company is that we help out in the community. That’s one of the most important things to me. We heard about [the event] and we tried to round up as many people as we could to come.”
Mayor Cathy Clark attended and gave a good summation of how events like this reflect the citizens of Keizer.
“This is all about Keizer shows up. Our kids, our families, need us and Keizer’s showing up to take care of [them]. This is what we do.”