125 families, seniors and Horizons clients still in need of gifts this holiday season | SteamboatToday.com

125 families, seniors and Horizons clients still in need of gifts this holiday season

Michael Schrantz

Stephany Swinford, from left, wraps presents along with Maren McCutchen, Sarah Leonard and Sara Ferris at Sheraton Steamboat Resort on Thursday afternoon. Volunteers from the Young Professionals Network and Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association have been busy wrapping hundreds of presents as part of Routt County United Way's Holiday Wishes program.

— When the annual community holiday party, which was put on by the city of Steamboat Springs for years, is combined with the United Way Holiday Wishes party, an annual event started by friends Grant Fenton and Rex Brice, the resulting portmanteau event is the Community Holiday Wishes Party.

On Sunday, the party continues at Howelsen Hill as the Steamboat Springs Rotary Club picks up where the city left off, incorporates the generous spirit of Rotary members and invites everyone — residents, visitors, etc. — to celebrate together.

From 4 to 7 p.m., the community is invited to attend the free gathering at Howelsen Hill Lodge. Tubing will be in full swing throughout the party, and a special area will be set aside for children ages 8 and younger to slide apart from the big kids (and adults).

There will be tubes provided for the younger children, but attendees also are welcome to bring their own (inflatable tubes only).

"If they want to bring them, they can and they should," event chairman Erik Griepentrog said.

Griepentrog said that this year, a group of third- through fifth-graders from local elementary schools will be putting on a caroling presentation. Show up at about 4:45 p.m. to be ready for the show.

Recommended Stories For You

Santa also RSVP'd for the party. He'll be riding in on a fire truck at about 5 p.m., Griepentrog said.

Hot chocolate and other refreshments have been donated by Brice, and fire pits will be placed across the Howelsen Hill area for those making their way back and forth between the hot chocolate and the tubing hill or just mingling with friends.

Griepentrog reminded people to bring their own cameras, as there will not be a professional photographer this year so snapping and filtering your memories is on you.

And it wouldn't be much of a Holiday Wishes party if the spirit wasn't being shared. The party has adopted 70 families from the Routt County United Way's Holiday Wishes program, which is sponsoring almost 440 families including those on the wait list.

Visit http://www.communityholidaywishes.com to share the cheer with the families adopted by the party.

On Sunday, Griepentrog said, they will be accepting gifts if people choose to bring them, but there is no obligation.

"If they do (bring gifts), it will be graciously accepted and delivered to right people," he said.

Anyone also can call United Way directly at 970-879-5605 to adopt one or more of the nearly 125 families remaining. Routt County United Way Executive Director Kelly Stanford said many of those left on the list are senior citizens and Horizons Specialized Services clients, which means there might be only one person on the form.

Stanford said the rule of thumb is about $50 per name for those trying to budget how much they can help.

Griepentrog said Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighters volunteered their time in front of Walmart soliciting gifts and collecting them for the families. He also said the city of Steamboat Springs has been gracious and helpful to the organizers of the party.

The event is on a Sunday this year in an attempt to avoid conflicts with work, school or other activities and make sure the greatest number of people can attend.

"We're just happy to have people show up and enjoy themselves," Griepentrog said.

To reach Michael Schrantz, call 970-871-4206 or email mschrantz@SteamboatToday.com

How to help

Adopt a family or person in need

About 125 families or individuals are remaining on the list. Contact United Way for more information at 970-879-5605 or http://www.routtcountyun…

Bring a gift to the Community Holiday Wishes Party

Select a gift from the registry by going to http://www.communityholi… and clicking on “Local Benefit.” Gifts should be dropped off from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Howelsen Hill Lodge. If your gift is wrapped, make sure to include a description of the item and who it is for.