2019 Upper County Christmas Baskets – Applications Now Accepted

The Upper Kittitas County Senior Center wants to help make Christmas brighter for families in the Upper County, again this year.

If your family, or someone you know, needs a little extra help during Christmas, please come in / have them come in and fill out an application Monday through Friday, 9AM-12 Noon. It can also be done over the phone 509-674-7530. Either way, applicants will need to ask for Susan. The last day for submitting applications for the 2019 distribution will be Friday, Dec. 6th (earlier applications appreciated to help us out with processing and planning amounts of items needed). The Giveaway will be Friday, Dec. 13th.

Our Christmas Baskets Program does this in special 2 ways:

  1. For recipients, the generosity of caring local people helping local families in need means filling meals for Christmas Dinner and beyond, all in a dignified anonymous way.
  2. For donors it is a convenient, well-organized way to maximize your holiday giving and ensure that it gets to LOCAL families who will appreciate the assistance. Donate money, canned food (non-expired only please) and/or “adopt a family”. See details below.


Everything you need to know to sign up or contribute

(Contains excerpts of an article by Erik Pague published in the local newspaper, the Northern Kittitas County Tribune, updated for 2019.)

The Holiday Giving Program coordinated by the Putnam Centennial Center, made possible by the generosity of community members, will be accepting nominations for Christmas Baskets to give out in time for Christmas beginning now.

Center director Susan Klein said applications will be available at the center and accepted no later than Friday, Dec. 6th, but that it’s a great idea to apply early. The center is at 719 E. 3rd St. in Cle Elum and can be contacted at 509-674-7530. Klein is available to help with the applications Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

“It’s just to help anyone in the community that needs help for Christmas,” Klein explained. “They get Christmas dinner and they get extra food that will probably last them a week.

“[in 2016] we had about 150 families and each year it seems to grow. We never turn anybody down.”

The food baskets contain items like potatoes, eggs, milk, canned fruits and vegetables, spaghetti and sauce and a gift certificate to purchase groceries – like a holiday ham or turkey – at a store.

For families looking to apply

Starting on now, families can visit the center and fill out an application. The forms remain anonymous except for when Klein reviews them to make sure the right food baskets are given to the right families.

The form asks how many members are in the family and has a section to request gifts for children between the ages of infant and 17-years-old. Only one item per child should be listed and it’s suggested that it be an item that is a “need” or a “wish.” Expensive items or high tech items like game consoles, tablets or iPhones will not be eligible. Clothing wishes should specify the item, size and preferred color.

Once all the items are collected, families will need to return to the center on FRIDAY, DEC. 13, 2019 between 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Only very specific circumstances will be considered in having the center deliver donations to families that day.

Helping in other ways

Money donations will also be accepted to help cover costs the Centennial Center bears in purchasing food for the baskets. Canned food (non-expired please) donations accepted. There’s also an option for a generous person, business or club to adopt an entire family to purchase all the gifts and food to cover them.

Klein said volunteers to help fill boxes on on Thursday Dec  12th, 2019 at 10:00 AM would be appreciated. Contact her for details, 509-674-7530. “I already have help for the next day, Friday Dec13th. That is the day people come in and pick up their  items,” Klein reports.

The center also partners with the KXLE radio station to put on a penny drive. Penny containers will be set up in businesses around the area starting the first week of November. Funds raised stay within the upper county.

Side Note: Free Community Thanksgiving Dinner

The Putnam Centennial Center is hosting a free Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Wednesday, Wednesday, Nov 27th, 2019 at noon. If guests would like to bring a salad, that would be great. The Center supplies the rest.  The dinner is open to anyone in the community.

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