Help low-income kids this holiday

awebb@idahostatesman.comNovember 26, 2013 

1218 local refugeeshop08

Boise Parks and Rec’s annual shopping outing for local kids in need is a favorite event for kids and for volunteers. For many families, the gifts bought at this event will be the only gifts they will receive during the holidays.


As it does every year, Boise Parks and Rec is sponsoring its annual shopping trip for low-income kids. The city is asking for donations to help make the outing possible.

About 150 kids at six after-school programs operated by Boise Parks & Recreation have been selected by school counselors to participate in the program. The students, who range in age from 6 to 12, will each receive a $30 gift card to buy clothes, toys and toiletries.

For many of the young participants, this will be their only chance to shop because of the financial situations of their families.

Volunteers help the children shop at a local Target store. Organizers are hoping to receive financial donations by Dec. 18.

To make a tax-deductible contribution, please contact Karen Bledsoe, recreation administration analyst, at 608-7656.


Ralph Schaeffer, a Boise man known for his ardent volunteering at organizations across the city, died in 2012. Friends and family joined with the Idaho Botanical Garden and others to celebrate his life.

Schaeffer's daughter, Audrey Simmons, is continuing his good works in the community by creating the Ralph Schaeffer Quality of Life Scholarship.

Simmons is the owner of Curves, the fitness club located at 618 E. Boise Ave. Her scholarship program will pay for a six-month fitness membership with personal coaching at her gym.

Simmons will award a scholarship to one applicant every six months. She is now accepting applications for the session beginning in July 2014. Click here for details.


Each year for the last eight years, a local group that calls itself ELF, or Eternal League of Friends, makes it their holiday mission to create a bright holiday season for about 25 refugee families that are new to the Treasure Valley. The group is affiliated with the Mountain States Group that runs the Agency for New Americans.

Festivities will include a holiday party with music, crafts, presents, food, even a visit from Santa Claus. This year's holiday party is slated for Dec. 6.

The group is looking for volunteers to help with the project and organize the party. For more information, click here or contact Angie Stephenson at


The Society of St. Vincent de Paul offers a food pantry, meals and financial assistance for essential needs (like paying the electric bill).

Donations to the organization's thrift stores support this work. St. Vincent's thrift store at 6464 W. State St. needs help with bike and sewing machine repair.

All the shops need donations of clothing, furniture, appliances, household items and cash.

Here are some more St. Vincent numbers to keep, either to help or receive help:

• Food pantry: 333-1460

• State St. thrift store: 853-4921.

Anna Webb: 377-6431

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