Lisa Walker (left) and Tinnie Chow help out at last year's Keizer Chamber of Commerce gift basket event.
Though many Keizer holiday traditions are changing form or being canceled all together due to COVID-19, there is one seasonal staple Keizerites can count on this year. The Keizer Chamber of Commerce will still be handing out gift baskets to provide families in need with food and gifts for the holidays.
“The children and families who are in need are identified by the school counselors and staff. If families are in need they need to connect with their school counselors as soon as possible to be able to receive access,” said Keizer Chamber Executive Director Danielle Bethell.
The most important part of this program is the food, which Bethell said may be difficult to get this year.
“Because the Keizer Miracle of Lights display is not doing food collection we are having to figure out how to get our canned food,” Bethell said.
The chamber is considering having corporate sponsors purchase the food instead, but there might be a community donation barrel set up by the Gubser Neighborhood Association as well.
The other component of the program is gifts, which go to the families alongs with the food
The schools identify families in need, and then the Chamber sets up trees with a tag for each child. The tags tell community member what the child wants so they know what to buy for gifts.
Trees will be set up in the following locations: the Human Bean, St. Edward Catholic Church, Columbia Bank, Los Dos Hermanos, Willamette Valley Bank, Courthouse Club Fittness, Physic Fitness, Keizer Liquor Store and Copy Cats Keizer.
After the food and gifts are collected they will be packaged by the community.
Food sorting will take place Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m. in the empty space at Keizer Village, next to The Chicken Shack. The gift wrapping event will be Thursday, Dec. 10 at 6 p.m. in the same location.
COVID precautions will be taken, such as social distancing, wearing masks and potentially even gloves. There is no maximum number of people who can attend, but because of social distancing they may have to turn volunteers away if they run out of room, but they still encourage people to come.
“We can’t do this without the community,” Bethell said.