1:05 p.m. Dan: The Basket of Joy started in Denver back in 1988. A morally bankrupt financial planner stole all of the money from two elderly sisters and had them sent to a home in Mexico with the instructions that they were not to be sent back to the states. When it was discovered, they moved back to a nursing home in Denver with absolutely no assets. Woody Paige wrote a column about it and asked readers to send him Christmas cards and he would take them to the sisters. I called him and offered two fruit baskets. The next day we began planning how we could make and deliver 500 baskets and that turned into 5,000 the first year. Now for the shameless plug...more info at www.squidoo.com/DenverBasketofJoy.
1:08 p.m. Tom: Where does all the fruit - and the volunteers come from? I know you manage a lot of people working with the fruit baskets, but do you also get a chance to deliver the baskets sometimes? If so, what was one of the memorable deliveries that you made with the program?
1:17 p.m. Dan: The fruit is purchased directly from growers that I have known for many years. The volunteers are all coordinated through the Denver chapter of Volunteers of America. It takes about 300 people to build the baskets and about the 800 to 1,000 volunteers deliver them. I have delivered a few. The target recipient is an elderly person who has no family and no one else at Christmas. I was shocked to find that one of our neighbors was on the list from the VOA. My daughters and I delivered the basket. We get stories every year from different volunteers about their experiences, from delivering to WWII veterans who want to tell their stories, to people living in trailers with no heat, to people living in mansions. But all of the recipients are alone at Christmas. Many times the volunteers are the only human contact these folks have during the holidays. I guarantee you, participating in the program gives you a different perspective on Christmas.
1:20 p.m. Tom: What a powerful reminder to give back to the community during the season. Would that we would all have an opportunity to do something like the Basket of Joy program in this season. Thanks for sharing about that and taking time for this chat. Perhaps we can have you back another time to visit about traceability? Again, thanks for your time and thanks for your work in Denver!