The Elks Lodge at 380 Social St. is the focus of a bustling, busy energy as toy and bicycle donations are collected, bagged and labled for Woonsocket Adopt a Family's Christmas delivery.
For the last 30 years the charity has been providing Christmas to city children who wouldn't otherwise get to enjoy a tree with gifts and stockings.
On Monday morning, there were about 30 volunteers directing traffic for gift drop-offs, checking in toys, wrapping toys, checking and assembling bicycles and providing food for their hard-working fellows. They started setting up at the Elks Lodge on Sunday, and the action began in earnest at about 11 a.m. For Julie Wunderlich, president of Woonsocket Adopt A Family, some of the volunteers are familiar faces she's seen on a recurring basis. Some volunteers take the entire week off from work to help them put the deliveries together, Wunderlich said.
Individuals bustled in and out of the hall to drop off their donations - each donor tells Adopt a Family how many children they can handle buying for, then they're matched annonymously with a gift list for a family of that size. The gifts are dropped off, wrapped, packaged together and assigned a number to protect the famlies' annonymity.
Local companies were in on the fun, too - at 11 a.m., a CVS box truck arrived, manned by about 10 members of the CVS Xtracare Team who hustled bags of toys and bicycles out of the truck and arrayed them outside the hall.
Though individual departments at CVS's Woonsocket Corporate Headquarters have been donating to Adopt a Family for years, this year the company coordinated its department's efforts - organizing donations with Adopt A Family and collecting them in one spot for easy delivery. CVS alone provided Christmas for 50 children - about 350 toys, with another 100 gifts added in, just in case they're needed.
“At CVS Caremark we are committed to supporting the communities where we live and work – especially in our home state of Rhode Island. We are proud to be partnering with Woonsocket Adopt-a-Family this year to help provide gifts to children who need them most. More than 50 CVS Caremark colleagues came together to support this effort by providing gifts for the children’s wish lists and volunteering their time to wrap and deliver gifts. In total, CVS Caremark and its colleagues donated more than 450 gifts, helping make the holidays brighter for 50 local children,” said Faith Weiner, Senior Director of Community Relations, CVS Caremark.
By the time the week is over, about 150 volunteers will have donated some of their time to the cause, Wunderlich said. That cause: Deliver the biggest holiday of the year for 2,100 children from about 1,000 families in the city. "It's the whole Christmas," she said — gifts, stocking stuffers, food — the works. "The parents should be able to come hom from here and be able to put everything under the tree," Wunderlich said.
The charity is also accepting non-perishable food items until Friday, Dec. 14 that will be sent to a local food pantry.