Holiday season puts Parkites in giving mood
Despite the colder weather, the holiday season tends to warm people’s hearts. It’s a time for giving, for thinking of others.
Charitable donations to Peace House in Park City skyrocket from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, a welcome tradition for Executive Director Jane Patten.
"Giving increases over the holiday time," she said. "People are very generous with us in general, but they understand that if we get a surplus now we can hold that and use it throughout the year. I think it’s that people get caught up in the holiday giving time."
Patten said several youth groups and schools find it a good time to give. Students at the Park City Cooperative Preschool learned about Peace House and wanted to help. They brought in gifts to school and delivered them to Peace House, which is a shelter for women and children escaping domestic abuse.
Soaring Wings Preschool also wanted to help. They put up an angel tree a tree decorated with angels, each with the name of someone at Peace House along with a list of items they need and each chose an ornament.
"Each little angel they have on a tree has a description of a mother or child and each has a list of items they need," Patten said. "Each child picks an angel and they go out and purchase the items that fill that wish and then they bring them in. The items are for women and children staying at Peace House now, or who have been here in the past."
Black Diamond Soccer Club, a girl’s organization in Park City, made a donation from money earned through a fundraiser. Patten said Peace House was able to stretch the money to buy two much-needed beds from Park City Mattress.
Patten said she thinks so many children choose to give around the holidays because they realize what they have compared to the people who might be going through a hard time. Instead of just receiving gifts, they are learning how to give to others.
It’s not only children who are giving at this time of year. Frontier Bank annually displays an angel tree to give customers a chance to help. There is also a writer’s group in Park City that has donated children’s books that will be used to set up a library and reading area at the shelter.
Churches are also helping. A Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ward and Park City Community Church both donated items for the women and children to take with them once they leave Peace House.
"They brought items our women can take with them when they leave the center and carry on with their lives," Patten said. "The Community Church is making baskets for the kitchen, for the bathroom, bedroom items and toiletries. Each one of the baskets has a theme to it."
Other donating organizations range from a physical therapist who brought in non-perishable goods from a food drive to boxes of clothing contributed by Woolrich Clothing.
"Park City Pharmacy has said they’re willing to help out with some of the medications needed by the women and children at the shelter," Patten said. "And the Sky Lodge brought items to give to the women and children here."
The Copper Creek Pub and Grub, a new Main Street restaurant, donated the proceeds of their grand opening party to Peace House.
"It was totally their idea," she said. "He decided that’s what he wanted to do and he called us and asked us what we thought about what he wanted to do, and, of course, we said we would appreciate it. It was wonderful."
Chiropractors have said they would donate their services to Peace House, a book publisher brought in seven boxes of children’s books, and various individuals around the community donate money and items daily, Patten said.
"During the holiday season people look past Santa Claus and Christmas trees to see people in need," she added.
Peace House itself gets into the giving mood during the holidays.
"Each year we do what’s called Holiday Helpers, which is a little like Sub For Santa. We find people in the community who need some help over the holidays and we find out what they need. Then people in the community sponsor these families and we hold a party for them."
"All the families that are going to be recipients of these gifts are invited to that party," she continued. "That’s when we give the family their items. We have almost 100 families."
Peace House began after a woman was killed by her ex-husband in a grocery store parking lot in Park City. The founders wanted a place for abused women to go.
"I have times when I am very much affected by the hurt and the pain, but I also look at the strength, the courage they have to find a new beginning," Patten said. "When I get down, that’s what I look at the new beginnings the community gives to these women and children."
Peace House still has individuals and families that need sponsors. If interested, call Peace House at (435) 658-4739.
Planning Department staff on Wednesday shared an idea for a new concept, dubbed the Community Planning Lab, with the Summit County Council. The initiative strives to engage people who want to better understand the processes that drive executive decisions.
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