Local churches are banding together to help those in need this holiday season. The Holiday Basket Project is in full swing in Portage County.
Tis the season to help. For more than 40 years, Allen Taylor has been doing just that, helping.
"It's a good feeling," said Taylor. "We're doing a lot more families now than we did back then."
Taylor is one of hundreds of volunteers working with the Holiday Basket Project. The program provides low income families throughout Portage County a holiday meal and gifts for Christmas.
"Most parents say no, I don't want anything, just give something to my children. Well, that doesn't fly with me. Everybody gets something," said Bonnie Lund, project organizer at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Stevens Point.
Every year, organizers receive applications from families in need and match them with a sponsor.
Last year the program provided more than 1,300 baskets to local families. About 80 of them came from St. Paul's.
"I love this," said Lund. "I wish there wasn't a need for it, but there is, and it grows every year."
But before each basket can be delivered, there's a lot of work to do.
"We have a lot of food and things we try to match up with the recipients. We have gifts for each person," explained Taylor.
But, he says it's worth it, "it's really special. People need a little help a lot of times and at this time of the year they really need it."
Allen says a hand written thank you card doesn't hurt either. He shares one card the organization got last year. "Holiday Basket staff," he reads. "Thank you so much for your generosity. You have no idea how much this means to my family. Have a happy holidays." He finishes reading and puts the card down.
"Some families have a lot of children. Some are older couples, it's just all really nice," said Taylor.
So as he dives into another holiday season, another chance to help, Taylor says he's ready to go.
"It's getting a little harder than it used to be but I look forward to it," he said.
So, we had to ask. "Another forty years?"
"I wouldn't mind that. I'll go as long as I can."
If you want to get involved with the Holiday Basket Project or for more information call 715-344-9950.