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Sedona Community Food Bank Spreads Cheer

The Sedona Community Food Bank is ramping up its holiday support for Verde Valley families through its coat drive, Adopt-a-Family program and senior gift bags as well as its involvement with the Sedona Toys for Tots program and its upcoming Bicycle Day. The food bank and its partners have collected around 250 coats that they began distributing this week to residents of all ages.

Distributions will continue through mid-January during the weekly Monday community supper at 5 p.m. at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, 100 Arroyo Piñon Drive; the food bank will be handing out coats from 4:30 to 6 p.m.

“We had some heavy donors help out with the coat drive,” food bank Executive Director Cathleen Healy-Baiza said. “We’ve had the local group Sedona Women, the neighborhood of Sedona Shadows, the Christ Lutheran Church, Twice Nice and then Ken Piper, a neighborhood coordinator in the Village of Oak Creek who sent emails out to his neighborhood. He did a collection for us down there, which has allowed us to be able to collect all of these coats we’re going to be giving away.”

Leftover coats will be given to the Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley and to American Indian reservations in Northern Arizona.

“It’s a nice supply and a great selection of coats,” Healy-Baiza said. “Some of them are new and some are very gently used … If I would not put it on my back, I’m not going to give it to someone else.”

The Adopt-a-Family program is sponsored by two private donors, several tenants of Tlaquepaque Arts and Shopping Village and the Rotary Club of Sedona. The food bank is sponsoring 14 Sedona families, who will each receive approximately $1,000 of direct support this holiday season.

Local families interested in the program can fill out an anonymous application with the food bank about their individual needs and preferences, which might range from basic household items to dresser drawers or clothing, and sponsors can then step in to fill those needs.

“When I first started this program, there was only one family, and now I’ve been able to grow it up,” Healy- Baiza said. “You would be stunned at the generosity and I cannot emphasize that enough. Stunned. Last year, we had people getting laptops and numerous gift certificates to [grocery] stores.”

The food bank will also be delivering its senior gift bags to its homebound clients and some of the seniors who come in for its Wednesday distributions on Monday, Dec. 13.

“We gave out [about] 48 of those bags last year, and we’re going for 50 this year,” Healy-Baiza said. “What we’ve done is we’ve put our requests every week for the last few weeks on the [Sedona] Wish List of all kinds of things that people need that I can’t supply or I don’t often, such as paper towels, toilet paper shampoo, lip balm, hand lotion,puzzles.”

Residents wanting to contribute to the senior gift bags may do so at the food bank’s office in West Sedona. “If you think of other appropriate items that would please an older lady or gentleman, those donations would be greatly appreciated as well,” the food bank stated in a recent newsletter.

The food bank also partners with Sedona Toys for Tots to help area children sign up for the program.

“With 80 of the children at West Sedona School qualifying for the free and reduced lunch program, it is critical to show that the community cares,” the Sedona Wish List recently wrote.

Any family that requests assistance is given toys. Go to sedonaaz.toysfortots.org select donate and donate a toy orcontact Angela Thomas at sedona.az@toysfortots.org with questions.

Toys for Tots will also be distributing new bicycles and helmets to Sedona children on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 1 p.m. at West Sedona School.

“This is the only contact we actually have with kids,” Sedona Toys for Tots coordinator Leonard Barrow said. “[When] we do the toy distribution we bag the toys up and their parents do the distribution. We don’t actually see kids often. [But] we see them when we get their heights and helmet circumference and we get to see them when they get a bicycle. So that’s a highlight for us.”

Questions about the food bank’s holiday programs can be directed to Healy- Baiza at (928) 204-2808 or food@sedonafoodbank.org.

Donations may be dropped off at its new office located at 30 Inspirational Drive between 7:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. from Monday through Thursday.

Source: Sedona Red Rock News