Project Merry Christmas...."A Chance to Share"
Brief History of PMC
Project Merry Christmas (PMC) is an all volunteer organization whose purpose is to assist the needy, senior, and disabled persons in La Plata County, who experience shortcomings in their lives, both at the holidays and throughout the year. PMC known for its Christmas activities, which include the Angel/Bell Tree at the Durango Mall, adoption of families by community members and groups, and Stuff The Stocking drives. PMC board members coordinate with local schools and social service agencies to help locate the needy in our county and try to avoid duplication of services with other organizations. The response to need is based on available resources and volunteer help. The Project activities are guided by a working board of 9 members, and incredible seasonal volunteers who spend countless volunteer hours making sure it all goes as planned.
Project Merry Christmas was started in 1985, by a core group of dedicated volunteers, to provide food boxes to needy Medicaid recipients. A few years later toys and clothes were sent along with the food boxes. Since then PMC has progressed to its current activities. We accept referrals from all La Plata County Head Start programs, elementary and middle schools, Human Services, Volunteers of America, San Juan Basin Health, Women’s Resource Center, Community Connections, and the Family Center.
PMC is a community effort, which begins with our annual poster contest. Children from local schools submit their creative entries. The winning entry is used on official posters, and all entries receive recognition with their display at the PMC Wrapping Station. The students have delightful insight into the project and it is fun to see their interpretations.
The food portion of our program receives donations of non-perishable food items from schools, community members and organizations, and businesses. In addition, roughly one-quarter of the cash donations are used to purchase food. This enables us to distribute approximately 300 food boxes each year. We provide the seniors and disabled with a pantry box of basic necessities, and all PMC families receive a food box containing nourishing food. Food gift certificates from local grocery stores are also given to each family, with the amount varying depending on the number of family members.
The Angel and Bell Tree set up at the Durango Mall (Angels for children in the 8th grade or younger, Bells for seniors or disabled persons) provides opportunities for individuals to donate new clothing items. Interested individuals or families select an Angel or Bell, which lists three needed clothing items or household items, purchase the items, and return them to PMC Wrapping Station in the Durango Mall. These items are coordinated with donated toys and food and delivered to qualified families by the local fire departments.
Toy donations are received from many sources including toy collection boxes set up throughout the community and the ABATE motorcycle toy run. Many toys are purchased and donated by individuals or organizations. PMC volunteers assemble and/or refurbish the bikes Santa delivers. Requested items that are not donated are purchased by PMC.
All PMC families have their wish list filled in one of two ways:
1. The whole family is adopted by someone in the community (individuals, church groups, businesses, organizations, etc.) who provides the requested clothing, food, and toys.
2. Clothing requests are filled at our Angel/Bell tree in the mall. Toy and food requests are filled by PMC.
Many dedicated volunteers organize clothes, toys, and food to insure that the each family receives the items requested. The local fire departments deliver the packages to the families, usually the Saturday before Christmas. Special delivery by fire truck excites the wide-eyed children and adults as well.
The local community also helps PMC with donations of space. Each year we “set up shop” in the lobby of the Northpoint Mall to take applications from qualified local families. The Durango Mall donates an area for the Angel/Bell Tree and Gift Wrapping Station. A temporary PMC Headquarters space is also donated each year. This space varies due to the temporary need and current space available. Collecting, organizing, and packaging donations occurs in the PMC Headquarters.
Our community support shows through at the holidays with a wide variety of donations and support. Our volunteers are phenomenal!!! Our Board of Directors spend time throughout the year keeping PMC working, and during the holidays those hours become immeasurable. The incredible support received by Project Merry Christmas enables our organization to fulfill its mission of helping to provide a Merry Christmas to La Plata County families in need.