Grand Valley Catholic Outreach, Mesa County Libraries solicit gifts for those in need |

Grand Valley Catholic Outreach, Mesa County Libraries solicit gifts for those in need

Sharon Sullivan
Library patron Bill Solawetz checks out the Giving Tree at the Mesa County Central Library.
Sharon Sullivan / |

The Giving Tree at Mesa County Libraries is more than a children’s book by Shel Silverstein.

Christmas trees at the Central Library and most of the branch libraries are decorated with tags that list requests of both children and adults in need of a little something new during the holiday season.

For the past four years, the library has partnered with Grand Valley Catholic Outreach to bring a little joy to families who are low-income, unemployed or homeless.

Library patrons are invited to choose a tag that names a gift request, the gender, age and size for various garments needed. Participants provide library staff with their contact information and, after purchasing the gift, they bring the items to the library unwrapped with the Giving Tree tag attached.

Gifts must be brought to the library before Monday, Dec. 16.

Then, “we have a wrapping party with library volunteers,” librarian Betsey Dick said. “We’ll spend a couple of lunch hours wrapping, then bring them to Catholic Outreach,” who delivers the presents.

All beneficiaries are Catholic Outreach clients and Mesa County residents.

“We usually fill 150 to 200 requests. This year we have 161,” Dick said.

Catholic Outreach financial aid director Blain Weaver helps match clients with the Giving Tree.

“Almost all the families we see are in financial difficulties due to a loss job, or cut hours,” Weaver said. “We see so many people from different walks of life.”

“For them to get a nicely wrapped gift — we see a lot of happy reactions. It’s a real good program.”

The suggested dollar amount is $25, although many participants spend more than that, Dick said.

“I’m blown away by people’s generosity. Some ask ‘can I purchase more?’ and I say ‘of course,’” she added.

One year, a person requested kitchen items and someone brought in two or three bags of everything needed to outfit a kitchen.

Another year, a man needed work boots and someone bought a $150 pair for him.

Some people take four or five tags, Dick noted.

“People are so generous,” she said.

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