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SCCFF families get help at Christmas


January 4, 2018

More than a dozen Sanders County families had a very merry Christmas thanks to the generosity of area residents.

For more than 10 years, Sanders County Coalition for Families has organized the Adopt a Family program. According to SCCFF’s Crystal Buchanan, 17 families were helped this year, and she and the families were blown away by the response.

The organization each year reaches out to families they have helped to get a list of wishes and needs for the holiday season. Buchanan said that this year, they also had three families who moved into SCCFF’s emergency shelter three days before the donations were delivered. She said that an anonymous donation took care of everything for those families.

While SCCFF reaches out to community members and groups to sponsor a family, they also have between 16 and 20 volunteers who help wrap and disperse the donations. This year, Buchanan said that Explorations students and a few high schoolers from Thompson Falls helped wrap in what she called the “crazy elf assembly line.” She said they get volunteers from Noxon to Hot Springs.

“There are so many people doing so many different things for these families,” Buchanan said, adding that this year they had several repeat donors and didn’t have to make as many calls for additional donors. She said that she often hears from donors that their children love shopping for the kids in their adopted family. Sometimes, they have donors without grandchildren of their own who enjoy adopting another family.

Along with donations, the Plains Woman’s Club made a stocking for each child. Students at Thompson Falls High School made wood crates which were loaded with nonperishable food items so that each family received a pantry basket as well.

When SCCFF contacts families, they get information including genders and ages of children, needs for the family and then wishes. Donors take it from there, and Buchanan said often they receive even more than what the family had on their wish list.

“It’s amazing,” Buchanan said. “I love helping people get their needs met, working with the community and having the opportunity to give back. I look forward to this every year.”

While the Adopt a Family is one of the bigger efforts for SCCFF, the organization is active in the county throughout the year. Buchanan said SCCFF is working with the Montana ICAC (Internet Crimes Against Children) Task Force to bring presentations on internet safety to kids in Sanders County schools. And in February, to recognize Teen Dating Healthy Relationship Awareness Month, SCCFF will place purple jars throughout the county. The jars represent people who have lost their lives to intimate partner violence.


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