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Gathering Kicks Off UCM Program

Holiday event brings in toys and a $10,000 check from Boeing.

Becki Kennett not only made and brought the refreshments for this week’s Almost Free Holiday Gathering at UCM, she also brought along her husband, Doug Kennett. A UCM volunteer and employee of Boeing, Doug Kennett came with a $10,000 check from Boeing, which he presented to UCM Executive Director Cheri Zeman.

Kennett said that the money came through Boeing’s Employee Community Fund, and that while Boeing has given over $35,000 to date, this was the largest lump sum they have given at one time.

Zeman said she was thrilled to accept the check. She also welcomed the guests to the Almost Free Holiday Gathering. This annual event, which was spearheaded by Becki Kennett, kicks off the holiday program for United Community Ministries. Each guest that came to the holiday gathering brought with them a larger toy donation for the holiday gift room. Volunteers will start sorting toys next week.

“Anytime you want to act like elves and come sort toys, we’d love to have you,” Zeman said.

All types of gifts will be accepted from now until Dec. 17. While they need gifts for all ages, especially needed are presents for teenagers — gift cards, electronic devices, DVDs, video games and other items wanted by teens. For the younger children, new toys and clothing, games, puzzles, books and winter hats and gloves are desired. Items can be dropped off at UCM’s office between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Starting next Monday, volunteers will be needed to accept and pick-up donations, set up the gift room, sort gifts and many other functions. Volunteers will be needed to escort families through the gift room on Dec. 18, 20, 21 and 22; Spanish-speaking volunteers are especially needed. Other ways that community members can help is by adopting a family, setting up a Sharing Tree at their school, church or office; donating food for holiday baskets; or donating diaper bags stuffed with items for newborns.