650 families get a Christmas dinner

Volunteers -- at least some of them -- working at the West Sacramento Christmas Basket Project distribution point on Saturday. Helena Helmold, longtime organizer of the charity, is second from left. (News-Ledger photo)

NEWS-LEDGER — DEC 26, 2012 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Friday afternoon found several dozen people huddled out of the way of the drizzle, under the eaves of Community Lutheran Church on Drever Street. They were clients waiting in line for an annual West Sacramento tradition.

It was time for the holiday food and toy distribution by the “West Sacramento Christmas Basket Project,” a longtime local charity that specializes in putting together a Christmas meal box for the needy. The Christmas Basket Project had borrowed the church to assemble the boxes and pass them out to locals who signed up to get them.

How many people took advantage of the offer this year?

“I’m not really positive, but I think it is about 650 families right now,” said the project’s chairman, Helena Helmold. “That’s considerably lower than what we’ve had in the past.”

Helmold said some confusion with a Yolo County Food Bank project may have prevented some people from signing up for her program in 2012.

The program also collects and distributes Christmas toys for the needy.

[adrotate group=”7″] What’s in the food box depends a little bit about the size of the family that signs up.

“There’s poultry, vegetables, fruit, soup, potatoes, bread, rice, beans and pasta,” said Helmold. Families of one or two people receive a big Foster Farms roasting chicken; larger families get a holiday turkey. They received a voucher to redeem for their bird at Safeway.

The project had a lot of time finding a space to use for assembling and passing out the gift boxes. But Friday and Saturday found a jovial bunch of volunteers working away at Community Lutheran Church.

“Without the generosity of the church, I don’t know where we’d be,” said Helmold.

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