With programs like a coat drive, food basket sale and a food drive to keep a full pantry year round, Helping Hands Co-founder K.G. Ariagno said that she is busy this time of year.
“We have lots of coats to give away,” said Ariagno. “We collected the coats at the beginning of November and will give them away until they are gone or until nobody needs a coat anymore. We have everything from light jackets to full winter wear. Every coat is clean and neat when donated, and some are very nice.”
Starting with a 40-foot rack, Ariagno said that Helping Hands has distributed 10-feet of coats from the rack. “We don’t have a lot of sizes for children or extra large coats, but if people need a coat, call us and we will try to accommodate your needs. We have plenty of coats in sizes medium, large and extra-large, for men and women.”
Ariagno said that Helping Hands still accepts coats for those that missed the collection at Hancock’s Neighborhood Market. “Call us and we’ll have a volunteer meet you at our storage facility to pick up or drop off a coat.” She added that Helping Hands has collected coats with help from Hancock’s for the past three years.
All coats collected are given away, according to Ariagno. “With Helping Hands, we never charge for anything that I know of.”
Coats are not the only project to occupy the time of Helping Hands volunteers. For the past two years, they have conducted a food basket drive to provide everything needed for a holiday meal.
Ariagno said that she got the idea from a friend who made a charitable donation on behalf of a family that had no needs during Christmas. “In place of giving a present to this family, they decided to give in the name of the family.”
According to Ariagno, the $25 baskets, sold by Food Giant contain enough chickens to feed everyone in the house, with all the trimmings needed for a full holiday meal. “We give chickens because one turkey would be too much for just one person.”
Helping Hands selects recipients for the baskets from requests to the food bank and a screening process. Most, according to Ariagno, are regular clients at the facility. “Some of the baskets are delivered by volunteers and some by children. I think it is a great thing to teach young people.”
Ariagno said that Helping Hands delivered 25 baskets last year, and that two businesses, Crop Production Services Solutions Bookkeeping and Tax Service purchase and distribute several more.
“Recipients of the baskets will not have a good holiday dinner unless we do this,” said Ariagno. “Sometimes, I feel like Santa.”
For the full story on all of the efforts of Helping Hands, see the new Cadiz Record.