Cottage Grove Sentinel | Lane County Families Surprises With Holiday Gift Cards

For the second year in a row, many Lane County families received an unexpected little gift in time for the holidays.

As part of a collaboration between the Lane Community Health Council and United Way of Lane County, 1,700 Lane County families received $ 50 gift cards for their holiday celebrations and daily needs.

“We are delighted to be partnering with the United Way again to take the pressure off a little bit during this busy time of year for families in Lane County,” said Tony Scurto, chair of the Lane Community Health community impact committee. Council.

The local non-profit Family Relief Nursery, which serves the communities of Cottage Grove, Creswell and Drain, was one of the recipients.

“It was fabulous,” said Peggy Whalen, Executive Director of Family Relief Nursery. “We received 50 gift cards which was way beyond what we expected.”

In total, 40 families in the service area received gift cards (as they were distributed according to the children of the household) and other donations through the association.

Family Relief Nursery uses its resources to support high-risk families to help children grow up in a healthy environment.

This holiday season, the nonprofit has received an influx of freebies through its own “Stuff the Van” project, which has collected donations from outlets in the region, while several companies have also done so. toy donation. On top of that, the Toys for Tots program contributed to the remaining giveaways from this year’s event.

“The community has been very generous with us this year,” said Whalen. “With everything we got, our families were treated so well. And it was so exciting to be able to give gifts and gift cards so that they could use them for food and to buy special things that they wanted to give their kids. We said it was the best Christmas ever for our families.

After all of these donations, Whalen said the gift cards were just “the icing on the cake.”

Whalen also praised the community effusively.

“I just feel like everyone really stepped up and went above and beyond,” she said. “And I kind of felt like we made up for it a bit for the last year… which was really what our families needed.”

The Lane Community Health Council called on United Way to leverage its extensive network of community partners to deliver gift cards into the hands of historically underserved families – Black, Indigenous and Color families, families in rural communities and those in rural communities. that fight poverty – communities in which United Way is particularly interested in investing.

“Providing financial assistance (in cash and gift cards) is one of the most useful and empowering ways to provide support to families, enabling them to decide what is most important to them. their families, ”United Way said in a press release. “These gift cards, even at $ 50, are important for families, especially since families can choose what is most important to them: gifts for their children that might not have been possible. this year special foods to share as families revise our vacation plans and traditions or any other current needs.

Holiday gift cards were distributed by the following agencies and programs: 4J ECCO Program, The ARC of Lane County, Boys and Girls Club of Western Lane County, Centro Latino Americano, Creswell Family Resource Center, Eugene 4J NATIVES Program, Family Relief Nursery (Cottage Grove), First Place Family Center / First Place Kids, Head Start, HONEY Inc., Hope & Safety Alliance, Goldson Grange, Junction City Local Aid, Kids for the Culture, Lane African American Black Student Success, Lowell Family Resource Center, Mapleton Food Share, McKenzie Family Resource Center, McKenzie Long Term Recovery Group, Oakridge Early Learning Center, Oregon Family Support Network, Parenting Now !, Pearl Buck, Relief Nursery, and Triangle Food Box.

More information about United Way can be found on the organization’s website at

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Michael N. Clark