December 12, 2012 | Vol. 24 Edition 50

Sharing the Christmas spirit in Valdez

Community steps up and shares during the holidays

The community Christmas tree lit: check. Christmas shows performed: check. While many holiday traditions in Valdez have already passed, there are still a number of days to go until the big day that are an important part of the Valdez spirit.

Valdez Star file photo
The Valdez Food Bank will distribute holiday food boxes during its regular hours on Thursday, Dec. 20. Last fall, Alyeska employees, pictured above, donated 25 boxes of food and a giant check worth over $3,000 Thursday, to help operations.

The Angel Tree at the Valdez Post Office is up, and the number of kids whose families need a little help this year is significant.

“It’s full, it’s busy, it’s got a lot of kids,” Sheila Jordon said.

Jordon, whose day job at Copper Valley Telecom keeps her busy solving communications in Valdez, also doubles as Santa’s helper. The co-op allows employees to participate in the Angel Tree, which matches secret gift donors to kids that don’t have a lot at Christmas.

Participating is easy. Simply choose an ornament on the tree, which lists the age, gender, interests and needs of a local child. The donor buys and wraps gifts, and brings them back to place under the tree.

“We need people to take ornaments from the tree and return the presents,” Jordan said. “We’d like them back by the 20th.”

December 20 is a big day for charitable giving in Valdez. It’s also the date the Valdez Food Bank distributes holiday food boxes.

Distribution will be during its regular hours this year.

“Thursday, the twentieth, is the final Christmas box day,” Dorenda Kramp, the food banks vice-president, said.

No pre-sign up is necessary for regular food bank clients.

One recent tradition has sadly gone to the wayside: the community Christmas dinner businesswoman Karen Ables hosted, cooked and paid for as a gift to the people of Valdez.

“I want to, but I’m still paying for last year’s” Christmas dinner, she said in an interview Monday. “That was a hard call to make.”

The event was put on Christmas Day at the Civic Center and was open to all.

“I feel so bad,” she said, “There’s nothing I can do.”

The expensive extravaganza was frequented by many in Valdez, and was not considered a charitable event, but one to bring the people of Valdez together.

While the generosity Able’s showed was not sustainable, other ways to give back to the community are abundant.

Churches, community service organizations and even a Valdez “cash mob” are out there bringing holiday cheer to everyone.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.

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