On Black Friday, Keesee Motor Co. wheeled a red truck onto its showroom floor to help collect Christmas gifts for families.
“It’s not unusual for the truck to be filled for or five times,” said company spokesman Matt Unrein.
Keesee has a long tradition of helping to brighten Christmas Day for children, Unrein said. The company had worked with the Toys for Tots Foundation, but opted to serve as elves for The Piñon Project because it wanted to make sure the toys were delivered locally, Unrein said.
“We wanted to help collect toys and coats for local families,” Unrein added. “It’s a little something that we can do to give back to the community.”
Speaking for The Piñon Project, Unrein’s sister, Kelli Unrein, said families seeking assistance are asked to file an income-based application with her agency. The application also includes a Christmas wish list, such as coats, toys, gloves, hats and hygiene items. All donations and cash to meet specific needs must be received at The Piñon Project by Friday, Dec. 11.
“Without the community, this program would not be possible,” said Kelli Unrein. “This is a larger collaborative effort that includes many organizations and people.”
Various individuals and organizations, including The Salvation Army, The Elks and the Cortez Fire Department, also adopt approved families, Kelli Unrein said.
Entering her third year as a volunteer for the project, Brittny Weir of Eclectic Aromas said she was honored to serve as one of Santa’s little helpers.
“This community has always given so much to me, and I am blessed to be able to give back to it,” Weir said.
Entering its 10th Christmas season, the project currently has applications for 200 children. Last year, more than 300 kids in Towaoc, Mancos, Dolores and Cortez benefited, officials said.
All donations for the nonprofit Piñon Project Family Resource Center are tax-deductible, and they may be dropped off at Keesee Motor Co. on South Broadway, The Piñon Project at 300 North Elm St., or C&G Healthcare at Mildred Road and Main Street.