Generosity Of Businesses, Residents Astounding

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Jodee Smith photo

Members of the Strawberry Patchers join Pine-Strawberry Food Bank volunteers to show off some of the homemade Christmas stockings donated for the local children.

We sure had a lot to give thanks for in Pine as the holiday brought a wonderful dousing of rain. And boy did we need it! Let’s hope that was the beginning of a very wet winter.

I barely had the turkey put away when my youngest daughter began begging to “get out the Christmas decorations.” I managed to hold her off until Friday, but I have to admit, I love pulling out all the decorations and stringing the lights, garlands, wreaths and stockings as much as the kids.

Before the day had ended, we made a trek down to Moose Mountain to pick up our 2009 ornaments. They have the most exceptional Christmas trinkets of anyplace I’ve ever been and the kids wouldn’t think of getting their decorations anywhere else. Every year, each of my children picks one new ornament for the tree. One day when they leave home, I’ll send their own special collection with them in hopes that they won’t feel quite so lonely. Of course, I have to pick one up for myself and my husband so we aren’t left with a bare tree when the gang’s all gone! Fortunately though, I have quite some time before that day comes — which is just fine with me.

Nativity display

If you haven’t already visited the Nativity display, tomorrow (Saturday, Dec. 6) is the last day to take advantage of this wonderfully unique event. The display is at the Pine Cultural Hall and doors open at 10 a.m. Admission is free and complimentary hot cider and cookies add a warm touch to this very special exhibit. If you are hoping to start a new, meaningful family tradition, then why not make that short trip to Pine and rediscover the magic of Christmas? The Nativity sets will be on display until 5 p.m.

If possible, I encourage you to stick around until dark because there is no town that enjoys the holiday season quite like Pine. Since we don’t have blinding street lamps everywhere, the colorful Christmas lights take center stage. Plus, the businesses throughout town go all out with displays that will have your family oohing and ahhing the whole way. It is such a joy to take a trip through town during the holidays.

I’ve had the privilege to live in some pretty neat towns over the years, but I can honestly say that I have never lived in an area where generosity abounds quite like it does in Strawberry and Pine. Just after providing generous holiday boxes during Thanksgiving for 65 families, the Pine-Strawberry Food Bank is hard at it again collecting items for anyone who is in need over the Christmas season as well. Sharon Ballentine has been president of our local food bank for 14 years, and she said she has never seen a time of greater need. That keeps her, vice president Barb Davis and Marti Heinert, who is in charge of buying and acquiring items, especially busy. They and several other volunteers were busy assembling food boxes at the cultural hall recently and it was obvious to me this is no sit back and relax kind of volunteering.

Because of the many needs, they are always ready to accept a helping hand in the form of community members doing whatever they can. Mike and Tammy Gorczyca of Taylor’s Pine Service Station are doing their part by offering a 2-cent per gallon discount if you bring in an item to donate to the food bank. Considering they already have the best gas prices in the Rim Country, that’s a great deal.

The folks at HB’s are doing their part, too. If you bring in a donation for the food bank to the restaurant, they’ll provide you with a free regular beverage (sorry no milkshakes).

As reported last week, the Strawberry Patchers donated 65 lovely Christmas stockings for the children visiting the food bank — and these were not your average, run of the mill stockings, but painstakingly assembled, carefully crafted works of art.

The DPS Quilt Angels have also donated 40 snuggly lap quilts for our seniors, 135 beautiful pillowcases, 42 teddy bears, and 68 gift bags for wrapping items to the Pine-Strawberry Food Bank to give out during Christmas. Again, these items are all lovingly assembled for the simple sake of blessing folks who live in our towns.

The Tellebration Celebration (sponsored by the DPS Quilt Angels) brought in more than 300 cans of food plus a generous cash gift.

You can help, too. Consider dropping food items at either the Pine or Strawberry Fire Station, or some of the other locations I’ve mentioned. Monetary donations can be made by calling Marti Heinert at (928) 476-6469. Because cash donations cannot be used to purchase toys, the food bank asks anyone who would like to contribute in that way to please bring the new toys to the fire station or call Marti for pickup. By joining together, we can ensure that no one in our communities need go without this Christmas season.

The Pine Strawberry Elementary School District will conduct a swearing-in ceremony for the newly elected governing board members at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 9 in the school conference room. Incumbent, Margaret Parker, will be joined by new members Michelle Wintrich and Diane Roeder. A farewell dinner will be held immediately following the swearing-in ceremony for retiring board members Katie Parks and Mike Roggenstein in recognition of their dedicated service to the school and community. Gila County School Superintendent Dr. Linda O’Dell is scheduled to attend the event. The new board members’ terms are effective Jan. 1, 2009.

Finally, parents, we all know that as much as our kids love to get time off from school, it isn’t long before they start complaining about having nothing to do. The Isabelle Hunt Memorial Library in Pine is offering a perfect solution to the “I’m bored” syndrome by offering “Holiday Movie Madness” with kid-friendly features and refreshments over the Christmas holiday. On Friday, Dec. 26 the movie “Wall-E” will be featured and one week later, Jan. 2, “Space Chimps” will be shown. The shows begin at 11 a.m. Both movies are rated G.

I want to thank all of you who keep me posted about your groups “happenings.” If you have something going on that you would like the community to know about, call or write and I’ll do my best to get it posted. My e-mail is smithster5@msn. com or phone (928) 476-3561.

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