This week kicks off the bulk of volunteer efforts for the Angel Baskets holiday program, which provides food, gifts, toys, clothing and other necessities for local families in need around the holidays.

Camille Price, Angel Baskets’ co-director, explained how the community can help with the holiday program, which runs from Wednesday, Dec. 4 through Dec. 20.

“Pick up a gift request for a child or senior, and/or volunteer to wrap gifts at Angel Baskets Headquarters at 335 West Colorado Ave.,” Price said. Volunteers can help at Angel Baskets’ headquarters Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from Dec. 7 through Dec. 14.

Price added that volunteers are needed to drive and deliver holiday gift boxes to families on Dec. 21.

Angel Baskets has been serving the community for over 38 years.

“Angel Baskets began in 1981, when Davine Pera worked at San Miguel Social Services and recognized a few families that needed help,” Price said. “From there, the need continued to increase.” Pera still supports Angel Baskets, Price said.

Throughout Angel Baskets’ history, as additional needs have been identified, the organization has continued to expand its reach, and add new programs.

“Angel Baskets has successfully established direct channels of distribution to families in San Miguel County, the West End of Montrose County and the Dove Creek area of Dolores County,” Price said. 

In addition to the holiday program, Angel Baskets also focuses on three other programs.

“Angel Baskets opened three food banks from 2009 to 2012, established the senior food program in 2010, the school supply program in 2009 and increased the number of eligible holiday recipients,” Price explained.

The food bank program operates year-round, assisting “food-insecure” people in Telluride, Norwood and Dove Creek. Each recipient is provided four to five meals per visit.

The school-supply program focuses on providing backpacks, gym shoes and other school supplies to children in the Telluride, Paradox Valley, Norwood and Nucla-Naturita school districts. This year, the program assisted over 500 youth in West End school districts and close to 600 kids in the Telluride School District.

Angel Baskets also has a senior apothecary program that aids seniors with prescription copays, which ensures that seniors are not put in a position to choose between paying for household expenses and necessary prescriptions. So far this year, the program has assisted 55 seniors.

Price explained that many local families are still having to consider trade-offs between paying for housing, utilities, food, medication and school supplies, and that by assisting families with the basics, Angel Baskets enables families in need to better manage their living expenses. 

According to information provided by Price, Angel Baskets supplies food for more than 600 people per month, necessities, food cards and gifts for 421 people at the holidays, extra food cards and medications for low-income elders throughout the year, and school supplies for over 500 kids.

Managed by 9 unpaid board members, the organization is completely reliant on volunteers. Its continued success, support for the community and those in need is dependent on the passion and dedication of volunteers and those who can donate money for funding, food, school supplies, presents and more, Price explained.

“Angel Baskets is a commitment and devotion of mine, hoping that the work we all do is received well and received as good by those in need,” Price said. “It is a manifestation of love and a way I can give back for the many good things I have received in this life.”

Monetary donations are accepted to help fund all Angel Baskets programs via PayPal at tellurideangelbaskets.org/donate, and checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 22000, Bin 158, Telluride, CO 81435.

For more information on volunteer opportunities, visit tellurideangelbaskets.org.