Rockbridge Christmas Baskets spread packing day into a packing week

Published: Dec. 5, 2020 at 6:36 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) -Toys, hundreds of them, for families that wouldn’t be able to afford presents, all being prepared.

“Typically, this would go on at the Virginia Horse Center, and it would be part of packing day,” explained Jenn Andrews, Rockbridge Christmas Baskets Communications Chair.

But this is 2020, and COVID means Packing Day has to be smaller and spread out, so volunteers met in a warehouse to get the toys ready to go with food that surrounds them.

“Nearly 600 bags of toys,” Andrews said.

Over 3,200 people will get help this year from Rockbridge Christmas Baskets, a jump of several hundred.

“We’ve had to pivot on this, like everyone else,” Andrews said.

“It’s been like trying to nail Jello to a tree,” said Toy Purchasing Chair Ruth Candler, “Because every time we’ve come with a plan, things have changed and we’ve had to adjust to the change.”

And that means packing day has become packing week, with smaller groups like this meeting to prepare everything for more volunteers to gather at the horse center to do the bigger job.

“I’m glad it’s still going on,” said volunteer Chuck Smith. “They’ve found a way to adapt to what’s going on this year, and I’m happy to participate.”

“It’s going to be a little bit different,” Andrews said. “But it can be just as fun. And, yes, people will still be able to see one another, distanced but face-to-face.”

All the safety protocols will be in place, as they were Saturday, and for the first time ever, they’re asking families to register before coming.

“In fact, I should add,” Andrews said, “We still have slots open for December 16th, 17th and 18th.”

Continuing a tradition that brings joy, and help, to a lot of Rockbridge residents.

“High demand, done differently,” said Andrews. “Still thanks to just hundreds of volunteers, it’s going to get done well and it’s going to get done safely.”

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