PRESTON – There are the Lions, Elks, Eagles, Kiwanis, Rotary, Optimists; all civic clubs making a difference in their communities locally and across the country. Then, in Preston, Idaho, there are all those clubs and one more, there is the Robin Berrett/Hidie Nye civic club.
“We are a two people organization; some people think we are a part of another civic club,” Berrett said. “It’s just the two of us and a bunch of volunteers that do the Angel Tree program in Franklin County.”
The two have been helping families for 11 years in Franklin County. They took over the charity after the local Chamber of Commerce stopped doing it.
They start in October, print the applications and get them out to the community. They put collection jars in area retail establishments. Then they get the gifts and put the name tags on.
Some of the Berrett And Nye families have grown up and left home, but they still come back and help as part of their Christmas when they can. It has been a family tradition to be involved in the Angel Tree Program during this time of year for as long as some of them can remember.
“To screen the families, we use the same criteria that the health department uses to determine who gets help,” Berrett said. “Once we get the information back, we make tags and hang the ages and needs on the trees.”
Then the two wait for the magic to happen. The gifts and money start to pour in.
Presto donated the bags and they get help from three big money donors. Two are businesses and one is an individual.
“We need to thank True Value, Big J’s and West Side School District for letting us put trees up in their facilities,” Nye said. “There would be no Angel Tree without their cooperation.”
Generally they have somewhere around 70 families, but this year they only have 45 families they are doing Christmas for.
“That either means people are doing better, or we’ve missed someone,” Berrett said. “It would be a shame if someone doesn’t have a Christmas and we could have helped.”
This weekend there will be some 20 volunteers organizing and handing out the bags, it will be busy. People will be coming and going, picking up Christmas for their children.
“December is a stressful time, we need to make sure everything is covered and what isn’t donated we can buy,” Nye said. “This year we had 12 bicycles donated, we only had to buy three this year.”
“At this time of year, with all the pressure we wonder if it’s all worth it,” Nye said. “When people start to pick up their bags and we see all the hugs and tears, it makes it all worth it.”