This is 18th year Second Harvest has facilitated the Itasca Holiday Program. By now, we are, as they say, a well-oiled machine. We feel confident that everything is ready to go and should go off without a hitch. Of course we have planned for any possible hiccups we may encounter along the way.
The food boxes are prepped and ready to be delivered to seven distribution sites, other than Second Harvest. Toys are being dropped off and sorted, lists are being compiled, gift bags are labeled, inserts and grocery store vouchers are printed. Tomorrow the fruit will be bagged and all remaining toys will be sorted. Saturday we will have all of the gifts sorted and selected for each individual child. Because we ordered pre-packed food boxes this year, we will all get a day of rest on Sunday! Yay!
The controlled chaos (distribution of the food boxes and gifts) will begin on Monday in Squaw Lake, Taconite, and Keewatin. It will continue Tuesday in Bigfork, Hill City, and Inger and wrap up with distribution in Deer River and Grand Rapids on Wednesday.
We call it, controlled chaos, because we have a very efficient system in place for distribution in Grand Rapids. We have a drive-thru option for those just picking up a food box, fruit bag, and grocery store voucher which takes place in our parking lot. We direct those who are receiving gifts for children into the warehouse to pick up their gift bags along with their food box, fruit bag and voucher. Our fingers are crossed in hopes that Mother Nature will be good to us during distribution.
Many plates would be bare, and stockings empty, if it wasn't for all of the hard work by so many individuals. It is a huge collaborative effort by our staff, volunteers, donors, local businesses, schools, civic groups, churches, and social workers.
And in the end it is all very worth it. I can assure you there will be tears of joy and appreciation, smiles of delight, and happy hearts - mine included.