DEL MAR — Hundreds of volunteers will be transforming the grandstands at the Del Mar Fairgrounds into a 20,000 square-foot shopping warehouse for the Community Resource Center’s 26th annual Holiday Baskets Program. The event will provide 1,200 low-income families free holiday shopping this season on Dec. 19, Dec. 20 and Dec. 21.
Eligible North County families will fill their shopping baskets with donated turkeys, staple foods, blankets, clothing and toys. High-need items for the baskets program currently include non-perishable food (canned or boxed), jackets and coats of all sizes (new or gently used) and unwrapped new toys and teen gifts.
Drop-off centers for the baskets run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the CRC Thrift Store, 111 C St. and Coldwell Banker Encinitas, 740 Garden View Court. Gifts are preferred to be delivered by Dec. 12, but items will be accepted through Dec. 19. The program relies on the donation of items collected by more than 200 groups in the community.
“We have many of our veteran drive organizers on board, and we’ve had a number of new groups organizing new drives in November and December,” CRC Executive Director Laurin Pause said. “We are particularly concerned about donations of food, jackets and toys. The number of families in need of CRC social services has increased by 200 percent this year, and we are doing our best to keep up for programs like Holiday Baskets.”
“At the very least, we want to make sure the families most in need have food and warmth this holiday season,” Pause said. “Any help would be greatly appreciated.”
More than 200 groups are now collecting items for the program and include schools, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Rotary Clubs, the Encinitas Sheriff’s Department, local businesses and government, Ecke Ranch, Lusardi Construction and area churches. Community Resource Center supervises the deliveries, drop-offs, and distribution of items and the registration of families for the program.
More than 1,600 volunteers and staff have been working around the clock to begin sorting over food, toys and outerwear at the Del Mar Fairgrounds site since Nov. 24 and continuing through Dec. 21.
Those interested in donating, collecting, delivering or distributing items for Holiday Baskets should contact Community Resource Center at (760) 230-6305. To learn more about CRC and Holiday Baskets, visit www.crcncc.org.