If Santa’s workshop is anything like Telluride’s Angel Basket headquarters, he must be taking Tylenol along with his milk and cookies. What a lot of work he must go through with the lists he receives, the elves he has to organise, and the packing of the sleigh. Thank goodness he has other helpers to count on to help round out his gargantuan task on Christmas Eve. Angel Baskets in Telluride is a beehive of activity so what must his workshop be like?
It takes a devoted group of people to make dreams come true for those caught between a rock and a hard place this Christmas Eve. Not only do the local Angel Basket volunteers work long hours making sure everyone’s hopes are met as much as possible, but they do it with true love and care. Before there is even a wish to pin to a tree at a local church or record in the gigantic “wish binder”, people – shut-ins, toddlers, teens, single parents, entire generations of a family have to be located and identified. Once identified someone, likely MANY someones, has to find out what would make life easier for them this year, what item of clothing is essential, what would be their idea of a wonderful treat to enjoy on Christmas morning (the sort of things I take for granted because I’m sure (hmmm hmmm, throat clearing here) there will be a delicious bone from Clarkes for me to gnaw on as gifts are opened around our tree. Eloise the vegetarian dog will likely get a gigantic carrot to chew on – I mention her because that dog just tickles my non-existent funny bone. Because Zak the dog lives with a great family he’ll probably get a little rub with some liniment to relieve his aching bones. Why then shouldn’t people having a rough time get some treats that take hardship out of the picture for the day?
Along with the larger items, the real meat and potatoes of the gift department, everyone receives other small treats so they have a few things to unwrap on Christmas morning. Food baskets are delivered to make their grocery demands a little lighter this month, hams are passed out, gloves for cold fingers, detergent to launder those gloves when needed and on and on. My brain, unfortunately is way too small to handle such a task. My heart, on the other hand understands implicitly what is going on here. Just as in the “A Dog Named Christmas” post about fostering a dog for the holidays, Angel Baskets is about love and care toward your fellow man. Some little boy or girl somewhere is really dreaming of a new bicycle, someone would like a fly fishing rod, a warm jacket for cold mornings, perhaps a bit of chocolate would be nice since the grocery money just can’t stretch far enough to include that delicacy. And let’s not forget….animals can also benefit from Angel Baskets. These are such kind and generous people that they try to make sure that pets receive some food as well. Some people might think that when the chips are down a pet is an unnecessary commodity for a family -- HELL NO I say! We provide love, comfort and warmth especially when the chips are down. Luckily the Angel Basket people are real humanitarians and animaltarians…they rock.
The Angel Basket organisers had hoped to have their entire workshop wrapped up by December 15 but as we all know life never works out quite like we plan. Sometimes I am convinced we are headed out on a five mile walk and owner only takes me to Clarkes….life has a way of interrupting goals. When we dropped by on the 15th many presents were being shipped out to families around the area. Everything arrives gift wrapped which makes their job a touch easier. I was told that about 600 people in San Miguel County which includes Telluride (likely more) will benefit from this programme this year. That is a wonderful number but it is a bit down from last year…which makes me think back to the posting about the Economy. However, people are still digging deep into their pockets to help others who are in a tight spot.
This year Angel Baskets forgot to mention that food donations can be made for animals. If you only have a few dollars you can spare to help out, why not drop off a bag of dog food or cat food that they can deliver with their Santa packs. It won‘t go to waste I can guarantee it.
If you suddenly realise that “YES” you are able to help out with a gift for a child, people burned out in a house fire, an expectant mom, a family recently split from dad because of violence, or PET FOOD (I just don’t let things go easily do I? ha! )give them a call to find out how to donate – numbers below. Often Christmas Eve Day rolls around and a few items are still unaccounted for and these dedicated volunteers begin to worry someone may have to go without, but then the community comes through and all ends well. Let us hope that this is the case this year. The great thing about Angel Baskets is it exists everywhere. Sure, it could have a different name where you live but trust me, dogs always know, there are always good people doing good work to help those having a tough time. Christmas carols will sound sweeter, gingerbread will taste spicier, and the feelings in your heart will be warmer if you do anything you can to help someone else.
Owner has had some tough times in her life. She had to choose between regular groceries on the table or skating lessons and hockey equipment for Jon – one of the few Canadian boys who never got to take skating lessons and play on a hockey team. (luckily he has forgiven her but he has been known to remind her of this past issue!). She remembers but acknowledges she always had enough groceries for the boys during those lean times and the tree always had gifts. She was one of the lucky ones. And curly-haired is one of the most generous people on the planet so he is always looking for ways to reach out and help others…..I’m a lucky dog to live here, after all they rescued me and that was kindness itself. As they get older they realise how many opportunities there are facing us each and every day where we can give a little but help a lot. Everyone gives in different ways and everything someone does to help someone else is a gift of love. People are almost as amazing as dogs when you think of it that way.
As I trudge through the cold landscape, and yes my paws are feeling it lately, the heartwarming feeling I got from seeing all those volunteers working so hard will keep me just a little bit warmer this winter.
Dogs, of course, give every day all year long. There is no need for us to form an Angel Baskets. We give licks, tail wags, snuggles, uplifting moments to everyone whenever we can. Think I”ll go snuggle in now with owner…she’s a bit cold after a long cross country ski. She looks like she could use a dog hug. Hope she doesn’t hog the darn bed like last night. See ya later.
(and yes, now that I’m wearing a jingle bells collar I’m always a bit concerned I’m going to get my ass kicked!)
Angel Basket Donations:
Angie Peterson 970-729-1899 (food donation)
Nancy Talmey 970-708-0647
Lylya Kirsh 970-596-3938