Each holiday season, Soroptimist International of Boise sponsors a gift-giving project that benefits residents of Treasure Valley nursing homes and care centers, a number of seniors who live independently and kids in the foster care system.
It all started in 1947 in Boise, when Soroptimist members delivered Christmas presents to patients in the old County Hospital. That hospital has since been torn down, but the tradition continues. For 41 years, the Idaho Statesman has published the wish lists.
Soroptimist members coordinate the lists, take the pledges and distribute the gifts to the adult recipients. Idaho Health and Welfare coordinates and distributes the gifts for the kids.
Want to keep the tradition of Treasure Valley generosity alive?
Heres what you do:
- Check the list of names in this section. Choose the person or people youd like to buy for this year.
- Once youve made your choices, go online to www.soroptimist boise.org/donations. If you need assistance from a volunteer, call 639-5749 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26, or Tuesday, Nov. 27.
Gift-list organizers find joy in helping out
The recipients young and old of gifts from the Soroptimist list arent the programs only beneficiaries. The project is dear to the hearts of the people who make it happen each year.
I have loved that the community gets together to do this, said Cathy Griffith, a client service technician with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Shes worked on the program for about 10 years. More than 300 kids in foster care are on the 2012 gift list.
The state gives $30 for gifts to families who are caring for a foster child.
That doesnt go very far, especially if there are other kids in the home. It can be tough, Griffith said.
The Soroptimist list fills in the gaps. Even small gifts a coloring book, a set of crayons, a toy car mean a lot, she said.
Griffith also gives kudos to companies, including Idaho Power and Hickory Farms, that step up to provide gifts for foster kids.
Marian Warren is co-chairing the Soroptimists Oldsters list this year. The project attracts all kinds of volunteers, she said, even her adult son and others one might not associate with the Soroptimists, which is primarily a womens service organization.
Warren said shes gotten the chance over the years to visit local nursing homes to see the gifts distributed.
I think of one lady in a nursing home who couldnt believe someone in the community had bought a present for her, said Warren. She started crying when we handed her the box.
Once the gift wish list goes public, people in the community tend to snap up names quickly. But donations beyond the list are always needed.
Griffiths department had to turn in its foster kid wish list in October. Many more kids have entered the foster system since then. She invites donors who feel inspired to donate extra gifts a Barbie doll, a set of gloves and a hat for those children who are not on the list.
There will always be a child to match those gifts to, she said.
Anna Webb: 377-6431